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BEYOND SAY’S LAW: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF J.-B. SAY’S MONETARY VIEWS

Béraud, Alain and Guy Numa
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Alain Beraud ()

Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2018, vol. 40, issue 2, 217-241

Abstract: Jean-Baptiste Say’s notion of débouchés has not been correctly understood, due to the lack of proper context within the framework of his broader political economy. We revisit Say’s writings on this topic, retrace the concept’s evolution, and lay out a framework that better illustrates the essence of Say’s thinking. We argue that Say’s theories on money and economic crises are much richer and more sophisticated than the traditional interpretation of Say’s Law would suggest. Say himself acknowledged that his monetary theory contradicted his initial articulations of the law, a point often missed by contemporary observers. This essay paints a more complete picture of Say’s work, showing how monetary changes could, under his framework, affect real variables. In so doing, it cuts against the many simplistic interpretations that pervade the existing literature on the subject.

Date: 2018
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