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Marquis d’Argenson

Laissez faire, telle devrait être la devise de toute puissance publique, depuis que le monde est civilisé […]. Détestable principe que celui de ne vouloir grandir que par l’abaissement de nos voisins! Il n’y a que la méchanceté et la malignité du cœur de satisfaites dans ce principe, et l’intérêt y est opposé. Laissez faire, morbleu! Laissez faire!!

Leave be, which should be the motto of all public power, since the world was civilized […]. A detestable principle is that of wanting to be enlarged by the lowering of our neighbors! There is only malice and malignity of heart in it, the principle being directly opposed to the general interest. Leave us alone, gadzooks! Leave us be!!

René Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, Marqis d’Argenson, Memoir es et Journal inidit du Marquis d’Argenson (1736 diary entry; first published 1858), echoing the words of M. Le Gendre, who, when asked, in 1681, by the eager mercantilist Controller-General of Finances Jean-Baptiste Colbert how the French state could be help promote commerce, Le Gendre replied simply: “Laissez-nous faire.” In a Journal économique article in 1751, d’Argenson put the Le Gendre anecdote into print first. “Laissez faire” became a rallying cry after that, and a major feature of liberalism until its transformation by its encounter with socialism. One often sees the phrase “laissez-faire capitalism” used to distinguish free markets from protectionism and dirigisme. René-Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, Marquis d’ Argenson

By: Redactor

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