In my last post, I mentioned (inter alia) that the Physiocrats gave us the phrase “Laissez Faire Economics” through their policy guiding advice against regulations of the trade in grains, flours & breads that were intended to stop hunger. Despite riots in the spring of 1774 and again, more notably, in the spring of 1775*1 (the latter of which*2 were both serious enough and of such obvious focus and origin that they were named Les Guerres des Farines), the Physiocrats argued against regulations and social services that would prevent flour shortages and, as a last resort, simply pass out food to the people when shortages did occur. An individualist capitalist analysis made the authors sure that the wealth of the nation – the wealth of the king – would be increased if only the government could see fit to scrap regulations of the agriculture trade and harden their hearts to the temporary consequences of their wealth-building policies. The Physiocrats didn’t want their gloriously perfect economic regime to be destroyed by such human failings as pity or empathy. Riots? Pshaw. “Laissez faire, laissez passer” they told the King’s government: “let them happen, let them pass by”.
Stabilization: bad. Unbridled self-interest: good.