On Economic Curves

On Economic Curves

On Economic Curves

On Economic Curves

Excerpt

Students of the history of economics are familiar with the name of Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817), the physiocratic writer, statesman, and founder of a great business dynasty in the United States. Du Pont was active as the editor of important periodicals of the physiocrats, gave the movement its name, and wrote copiously on economic and other subjects. A general appraisal of his significance in out of place in the present context; it can be found in a number of readily accessible places.

Du Pont was associated with the Marquis of Mirabeau (1715- 1789), the "older Mirabeau," a colorful figure of eighteenth-century France, who is still remembered by the historians of ideas as the author of L'ami des hommes. From 1767 to 1776 Mirabeau sponsored in his house the celebrated Tuesday meetings of the physiocratic group, and "hereby hangs a tale," not "full of errors, mysteries, and enigmas," as Jevons referred to the story of Cantillon, but one which nevertheless will interest students of the history of econometrics.

These meetings were attended by important people, and after the assembly had dined and partaken of liquid refreshments, they assumed the character of a seminar, at which papers were read and discussions took place. One of these papers, read by Du Pont

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