Jean-Baptiste Say

Say, Jean-Baptiste

economist (1767-1832). Autograph letter signed ("Say"). Paris. Large 4to. 1 p. with the integral address leaf attached.
$ 5,117 / 4.500 € (59755/BN44267)

In French, to the engineer Mr. Collier in Ghent, writing in part: "Here I am back home at last, where it seems I will not be disturbed. I saw the chancellor of France two times, the President of the Court of Peers, which is the only one with the jurisdiction to judge me, and it seems that they have no desire at all to treat me rigorously. I will probably be pardoned on the King s birthday at the beginning of November. I thought you would receive this news with interest, and I ask you to have the kindness to pass it on to your son in London, whom I won t write until later.

The present letter has another purpose, as well, i.e., to solicit your good offices for having several prospectuses of my work on the judicial institutions of England &c. distributed in Ghent, particularly at the school; they will reach you with one of the next couriers […]". - Say is best known for his law of markets, which postulates that supply creates its own demand. He attributed depression, therefore, not to a general deficiency in demand but rather to temporary overproduction for some markets and underproduction for others. This imbalance must automatically adjust itself, he believed, because overproducers have to redirect their production to conform with consumers preferences or be forced out of business. Say's law remained a central tenet of orthodox economics until the Great Depression of the 1930s. An obvious implication of Say s law is that the capitalist system is self-regulating; thus there is no need for government intervention in economic affairs..

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