Antuan Monkretien

Antuan Monkretien

Country: France

  1. Contribution of Antoine de Montchretien to the Science of Economics
  2. The Revolutionary Title of Montchretien's Work
  3. Challenging the Aristotelian View
  4. The Study of Society
  5. The Necessity of State Intervention

Contribution of Antoine de Montchretien to the Science of Economics

Antoine de Montchretien was a French economist who made significant contributions to the field of economics during the 16th century. Although some argue that his work lacks originality, Montchretien's book Traicte de loeconomie introduced important elements that would later become the foundation of mercantilist thinking.

The Revolutionary Title of Montchretien's Work

One of the remarkable aspects of Montchretien's place in the history of economic science is the title of his book. Never before had the words "political" and "economy" been combined on the title page of a treatise, which implies a systematic examination of a single theme. For some, this is the only merit of Montchretien's work, while others believe that he diligently worked on separating the analytical wheat from the chaff of factual data.

Challenging the Aristotelian View

Montchretien's contribution to economic science, albeit partly lacking originality, introduced some important elements that would later serve as the standard of mercantilist thinking. While sharing the political creed of his contemporary Jean Bodin, Montchretien was the first to add the pursuit of wealth as a means to ensure the stability of France's social order, which revolved around the monarchy. His work Traicte is one of the first to explicitly question the old Aristotelian assertion of the independence of politics from other aspects of social life, including economic activity. According to Montchretien, labor is no longer cursed but instead becomes one of the factors of political stability, productive labor, and wealth accumulation. He reached the logical conclusion that the happiness of people mainly lies in wealth, and wealth is derived from work.

The Study of Society

In addition to agriculture, Montchretien's research on the structure of society also included the study of industry and trade. As exchange became the basis of most productive labor, merchants began to play a central coordinating role. Their profit, being their primary incentive, had to be encouraged and protected by the state. Merchants, through their work and industry, create and contribute to a significant portion of societal wealth. Therefore, their love for profit and the pursuit of it should be forgiven.

The Necessity of State Intervention

Montchretien's work naturally led to the mercantilists' claim for the necessity of state assistance in increasing the prosperity of nations. By emphasizing the close connection between politics and economics, it was Montchretien who coined the term "political economy" for the labor that included simple proofs of how a nation's wealth is produced, distributed, and exchanged. These principles were systematically studied only a century and a half later.