Simplified General Maxims for the Economic Government of an Agricultural Kingdom by Quesnay (Under Construction)
1. Unity of Authority
Let the sovereign authority be superior to all individuals and interests.
2. Let the Nation be instructed as to General Natural Laws, which make a Government more Perfect.
The study of human jurisprudence is not enough to make statesmen.
- Government officials should be constrained to observe natural law.
- Political science should include the clear and practical knowledge a nation acquires by experience and reflection, so that it can create the best laws.
3. Earth, Agriculture, Sole Source of Riches
Let the sovereign and the nation never lose sight of the fact that the earth is the sole source of all riches, and that it is agriculture which multiplies riches.
- For it is the augmentation of riches that assures the wealth of the population.
- Men and wealth cause agriculture to prosper, extend commerce, animate industry, increase and perpetuate all wealth.
- Upon that abundant source of wealth, agriculture, depends the success of all the parties concerned in the administration of the kingdom.
4. Let Landed Property and Movable Riches be assured to Those who are the Legitimate Possessors of Them.
For the security of property is the substructure upon which the economic order of society rests.
- Without the certainty of the security and safety of property the land would remain unfilled.
- There would be neither proprietors nor tenants to make the necessary outlay in cultivating the land, if the title to the land and its products were not assured to them who made the necessary outlay towards improvement and cultivation.
- It is the surety of permanent possession that brings about the employ of labor and riches in the improvement and culture of the land, and in industrial and commercial enterprises.
- Nothing but a sovereign power can assure the property of subjects who have a primitive right to the portion of the fruits of the earth, the sole source of riches.
5. Non-destructive Taxes
The taxes should not be destructive nor disproportionate to the nation's revenue.
- The increase in taxes should attend the increase in revenue.
- Taxes should be immediately placed on the net product of property in land, and
- not on wages, and
- not on produce, where it would multiply the cost of collection.
- This would be prejudicial to commerce.
- It would annually destroy a portion of the nations' wealth.
- Taxes should not be placed on the riches of cultivators of landed property.
- for investment in the agriculture of a kingdom, i.e., advance money expended in agriculture, must be regarded as a landed estate to be preciously preserved for the raising of taxes and revenue and subsistence for all classes of citizens. Otherwise the tax would degenerate to spoliation and promptly cause the state to ruin and decay.
The investment of cultivators should be enough to maximize the annual production.
- If the investment is not enough, the expense would be larger and the produce less.
7. Complete Circulation
The total revenues should be annually returned into the entire course of circulation.
- No money fortunes should be accumulated.
- Rather, there should be compensation between those which are made and those which are derived in the circulation.
- Otherwise, the money fortunes would reduce the distribution of a portion of the national revenue.
- It would withhold the national moneys to the harm and prejudice of their re-investment into:
- the cultivation of the land
- paying the artisan’s wages
- making the various professions lucrative
- These would reduce the reproduction of revenues and taxes.
8. Favor for Productive Expenditures
The government should favor productive expenditures and the commerce of the land’s products.
- It should let fruitless expenditure attend to itself.
9. Preference for Agriculture
Large nations should cultivate their lands.
- Commercial facilities should not use too much of the people’s money in the manufactures and in the commerce of luxuries to the prejudice of labor and agricultural investments
- The kingdom would well be a people of rich agriculturists.
10. Revenue Expended in the Country
None of the revenue should pass into the home of the stranger without return either in money or merchandise.
11. Evils of Emigration
The government should prevent the desertion of its people who take with them their wealth, to the loss of the nation.
12. Protection of the Person and the Wealth of Agriculturists
Let the children of rich farmers establish themselves in the country so as to perpetuate and preserve husbandry.
- If they abandon the country for the cities, they take with them the wealth of their fathers who were employed in agriculture.
- It is less men than wealth that should be drawn into the country, for the more one employs money in agriculture the less it occupies men and prospers more and gives more to the revenue.
- Grain is the great product of the rich agriculturist.
- Compare that with the contracted tillage of a poor tenant who labors with an axe or a cow.
13. Freedom of Cultivation
People should be free to cultivate in his own field those products that his interest, his faculties, and the nature of the earth suggest to him will produce the largest possible result.
- One should not favor monopoly in the cultivation of land, for it is prejudicial to the general revenue of the nation.
- The precedent that favors the abundance of products of the greatest need, in preference to other productions, disregarding the purchasable value of the one or the other, is inspired by that short-sightedness that sees not the effects of exterior reciprocal commerce that supplies to all
- and which fixes the price of the products that each nation can cultivate with the greatest profit. Next to the riches of land cultivation, it is the revenue and taxes that are the riches most needed in a state to defend subjects against scarcity of food and want, against enemies, and to sustain the glory and strength of the monarch and the prosperity of the nation.
14. Multiplication of Cattle
Let the raising and multiplication of cattle be favored; for it is they that furnish to the earth the manure that produces the richest harvests.
15. Cultivation Extensive Enough
Let the land employed in the culture of grain be reunited as far as possible to form large farms to be cultivated by rich laborers.
- for there is less of expense and much more of net products in the larger enterprises of agriculture than in the smaller. The multiplicity of small farmers is prejudicial to the population. A more secure population, more freedom for the different occupations, and different labors that divide men into different classes, it is this that is maintained by the net product. All thrift and economy profits the work that can be done by means of animals, machinery, rivers, etc., returns to the advantage of the people and the state, for the greater the net product, the more of gain is there to the people of whatever service or occupation.
16. No Obstacle to the Exportation of Goods
External commerce of the products of the land should not be arrested nor prevented in any way, for it is the demand, the market, that regulates the production each year.
17. Freedom and Ease in Transportation
Let the means of the transportation of the productions of manual labor be facilitated by repairing roadways, and by the navigation of canals, of rivers, and of the sea ; for the more that is saved in the act of carrying on commerce, so much more is added to the revenue of the territory.
18. Good Prices for Agricultural Products and Merchandise
Let the price of agricultural products and merchandise, in a country, be not lowered ; for then reciprocal commerce with foreign countries would become disadvantageous to the nation. As is the purchasable value of things, so is the revenue. Abundance and no value is not wealth. Dearth and high prices is misery. Abundance and high prices is opulence.
19. Low Prices Are Harmful to the People
Low prices are not profitable to the laboring class.
- The cheapness of products lowers the wages of the laboring people, diminishes their comfort, procures less lucrative work and occupation for them, and destroys the revenue of the nation.
20. Comfort for the Lowest Classes of Citizens
Let the comfort of the lowest classes of citizens be not diminished; for they must aid in the consumption of products, if reproduction and the revenue of the nation are not to be lessened.
21. Avoid Unfruitful Economy
Let the landlords and those who exercise the lucrative professions not give themselves up to unfruitful economy, for this would cut off from circulation and distribution a portion of their revenue or of their gains.
22. Little or None of the Luxury of Decoration
Let the luxury of decoration not be entertained to the detriment of land culture, or any of the investments and outlays made necessary for subsistence, for the stability of these preserves good prices, the demand for the lands, products, and the production of the nation’s revenue.
23. Reciprocity in Commerce
Let the nation not suffer from loss through reciprocal commerce with other countries even if this commerce were profitable to the merchants, who would gain, regardless of the welfare of fellow-citizens, in the sale of commodities thus brought about The accumulations of the fortunes of these merchants would create a curtailment in the circulation of revenue prejudicial to distribution and reproduction.
24. Balance of Money in Trade is Illusory
Let no one be deceived by an apparent advantage in reciprocal commerce with foreign countries, which is simply a balance received in money, without examining and comparing the profits that result from the merchandise one has sold and the merchandise which has been bought. For often the loss is to that nation which receives a surplus in money. And that loss reacts to the prejudice of the distribution and reproduction of the revenues.
25. Complete Liberty in Commerce
Let there be complete liberty in commerce; for the surest, most exact, and most profitable policy for interior and exterior commerce of the state and nation consists in the greatest possible freedom in competition.
26. Attention to the Revenue Rather Than to Population
Let there be less attention given to the augmentation of the population than to the accumulation of revenue, for greater freedom or ease in procuring large revenues is preferable to the greater pressing wants of subsistence, created by a population, and which exceed the revenue ; and the resources are greater for the needs of a state when a people are in comfort, and there are also more means to make agriculture prosperous.
27. No Economization of the Necessary Public Expenditures
Let the government occupy itself with those operations necessary for the prosperity of the kingdom rather than with attention toward expenditures; for with greater riches the larger expenses will cease to appear so excessive. But one should not confound a perversion of funds with simple expenses, for such a perversion can dissipate all the riches of a nation and of the sovereign.
28. No Pecuniary Fortunes in the Administration of Taxes
Let the administration of the finances be in the tax collection, not in the expenses of the government, nor occasion pecuniary fortunes that take away a portion of the revenue from circulation, distribution and reproduction.
29. Credit of Financiers, Harmful Resource
Let no one hope for resources, to meet the extraordinary needs of a state, but in the prosperity of the nation, and not in the credit of financiers; for pecuniary fortunes are clandestine riches that know not king nor country.
30. Borrowing Always Injurious
Let the state avoid loans formed of the funds of financiers, for they burden a state with devouring debts, occasion a commerce or traffic of the finances, through the agency of negotiable paper, and where the rebate or discount augments more and more the unfruitful pecuniary fortunes. These fortunes separate money from agriculture and deprive the country of the necessary riches for the improvement of real estate and the exploitation of agriculture.