• J. Foster
Part of the The New Palgrave book series (NPA)


The word originates from the Latin ‘classis’, which included among its uses the subdivision of the population by wealth (most notably in the constitution of Servius Tullius). In modern usage it was adopted by Defoe (1728) to define ‘classes of people’ in terms of occupation and income. It was widely used by the Physiocratic School (Cantillon, 1755, and Steuart, 1767) and most centrally by Quesnay (1758) to define socio-economic functions. Quesnay’s Tableau Oeconomique made farmers the classe productive, landlords the classe distributive and merchants the classe sterile.


Productive Labour Collect Work Class Struggle Social Closure Modern Usage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

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  • J. Foster

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