The thought of Quesnay and Physiocrats is ambivalent: on the one hand, it promotes free trade, on the other it develops a political doctrine based on despotism. Would there be a discontinuity of physiocratic thought where the economy is the only space of freedom? For Quesnay, liberty is not absence of constraints; it is an opportunity for calculation and the expression of rationality. It analyzes the origins of this concept through Malebranche, Spinoza, Leibniz and Locke. The relation between liberty and natural right is analyzed to understand the coherence of physiocratic thought. Thus we understand better the link between liberty and order.
Abstract This article argues for the existence of an original analysis of Lemercier de la Rivière’s concept of legal despotism unheralded by commentators. Quesnay, leader of the physiocrats, is usually acknowledged as the main source but the literature systematically refers to Lemercier de la Rivière’s writings. Lemercier de la Rivière’s main text, L’Ordre naturel et essentiel … Continue reading The Optimum Government of the Physiocrats: Legal Despotism or Legitimate Despotism?