Forerunners of the Austrian School: The French Liberal School

The French Liberal School had been dominant through four generations because they were privately funded, but when the government intervened in the French universities the Liberal School lost its hold. Richard Cantillon, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, A.R.J. Turgot, Jean-Baptiste Say, Frederic Bastiat, and Michel Chevalier were responsible for economic concepts such as opportunity cost, the entrepreneur as risk-bearer, monetary theory, cause and effect methodology, utility, economic liberalism, and Say’s Law.

Both in Great Britain and the United States during 1870-1890, the French Liberal School was hated and denigrated. The American Economic Association was started in 1880. There was no room for the liberals.

The History of Economic Doctrine, which appeared in 1947, claimed the French Liberal School, which they now called the Optimist School, had abandoned the task of scientific investigation.

Lecture 1 of 10 from  Joseph T. Salerno’s Revisionist History and Contemporary Theory.

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