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Selected Essays on Political Economy; Bastiat, Frédéric
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Chapter 6, Property and Plunder
[Members of an eighteenth-century philosophic and economic school founded by François Quesnay (1694-1774). Since they believed in a natural law (the jus naturae) governing all human relations as well as the physical universe, they were opposed to any man-made interference, particularly in agriculture and industry. The phrases, laisser faire, laisser passer, were coined by them to epitomize their doctrine. They also regarded all wealth as derived from the powers of Nature and therefore declared the latter to be the only legitimate sources of public finance. Because of the heavy, labored style of their writings, they were held up to ridicule by Voltaire and others, but their doctrines were accepted in part by Adam Smith and J. B. Say.—Translator.]