The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Laissez-Faire, Laissez-Passer, History of the Maxim

  • E. Castelot
Reference work entry


Gournay is still generally credited with being the inventor of this phrase, and this apparently on the authority of his friend Turgot, who, however, in his Éloge of Gournay, simply says:This supposed agreement of the views of Gournay with the observation of Legendre has been translated by Dupont de Nemours into the positive statement: ‘From his (Gournay’s) profound observation of facts he had drawn the celebrated axiom, laissez-faire, laissez-passer‘(Oeuvres de Turgot, ed. Daire, i. p. 258); and has been followed by most of the writers on economic literature down to M.G. Schelle, Dupont’s last biographer (Du Pont de Nemours et l’École Physiocratique, Paris, 1888, p. 19).

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  1. Boisguilbert, P.P.S. 1707. Factum de la France. In Economistes et financiers du XVIII siècle, ed. M.E. Daire. Paris, 1851.Google Scholar
  2. Mill, J.S. 1848. Principles of political economy. London: J.W. Parker.Google Scholar
  3. Oncken, A. 1886. Die Maxime Laissez Faire et Laissez Passer. Bern.Google Scholar
  4. Schelle, M.G. 1888. Du Pont de Nemours et l’école physiocratique. Paris: Librairie Guillaumin et Cie.Google Scholar
  5. Turgot, A.R.J. 1844. Oeuvres de Turgot. Ed. M.E. Daire, Paris. (Turgot’s Administration et oeuvres économiques, ed. L. Robineau. Paris: Guillaumin, 1889, has the subtitle Petit bibliotèque économique française et étrangère.)Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Castelot
    • 1
  1. 1.