John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker
John Law (1671-1729) left a remarkable legacy of economic concepts from a time when economic conceptualization was very much at an embryonic stage. Yet he is best known-and generally dismissed-today as a rake, duellist, and gambler. This intellectual biography offers a new approach to Law, one
that shows him to have been a significant economic theorist with a vision that he attempted to implement as policy in early-eighteenth-century Europe.
Law's style, marked by a clarity and use of modern terminology, stands out starkly against the turgid prose of many of his contemporaries. His vision of a monetary and financial system was certainly one of a later age, for Law believed in an economy of banknotes and credit where specie had no role
to play. Ultimately Law failed as a policy-maker, in part because of the entrenchment of the financiers and their aristocratic backers and in part because of theoretical flaws in his vision. His struggle for power took place against the background of Europe's first major stock boom and collapse. The
collapse of the Mississippi System, which he had conceived, and the South Sea Bubble led to a lasting impression of Law as a failure. It is this impression that Antoin Murphy seeks to dispel.
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Laws Writings and his Critics
The Gambling Banker
John Law the Economist
The Edinburgh Environment in 1705
Money and Trade
The Rise and Rise of the Mississippi Company 1719
A Specieless France 1720
The Lull before the Storm
The Measures of 21 May 1720
Law the Improviser
Requiem for the Banknote
The Possibility of a Recall to France
Death in Venice
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