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The Basic Truths of Saysian Economics and Their Contemporary Relevance

The Basic Truths of Saysian Economics and Their Contemporary Relevance

August 8, 2023

This article was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education and has been reposted under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.

Having studied quite a lot of political economy over the past four decades, and critically, I must say that I consider A Treatise on Political Economy (1803)1 by Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832)2 to be best work ever published in the field. It easily surpasses anything contemporary but also Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) and Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (1949). Nothing beats it. Not coincidently, I also judge Say to be history’s greatest political economist, indeed, “capitalism’s economist” (though the term “capitalism” wasn’t coined until 1850).3 He also wrote for beginners a succinct Catechism of Political Economy, with a Q&A format.4

Say, once accurately described as a “neglected champion of laissez-faire,”5 was original and provocative. I’d go so far as to say he was so ahead of his time that economists today are best interpreted as being well behind the times, at least scientifically speaking, because so many of them are virtual mercantilists (at least implicitly), thus pre-Smithian. Erosion in the quality and relevance of economics makes Say more relevant and helpful today than ever. Whether you’re a friend, a foe, or mixed in your view of capitalism, you should feel both obliged and motivated to grasp Say’s methodology, principles, and policy advice; armed with all that, you’ll find today’s often complex and confusing world to be more understandable, manageable, predictable, and curable. His Treatise will be prized by anyone who values prosperity, wants it examined clearly, and wishes to know its prerequisites.

Salsman: Economics in "Atlas Shrugged"

Why “Saysian Economics”

In coining the phrase “Saysian economics” in 20036 I sought to crystallize and “capture the essence of Say’s doctrines: the sanctity of private property, the primacy of production, the creative entrepreneur, the virtue of saving, the benefits of capital formation, the need for gold-based money, the gains from unilateral free trade and the case for laissez-faire capitalism.” I explained how “these are the causes of prosperity and investment portfolio gains,” while “departures from these principles bring poverty and portfolio losses.” Finally, I stressed that although “Saysian economics is the opposite of Keynesian economics” the latter, tragically, remains predominant.

Keynesianism persists for three reasons, I think. First, for a century or so, with rare exceptions, Saysian economics just hasn’t been taught, thus hasn’t been known, hence hasn’t been applied to ongoing events, or used to guide policy.7 Second, due to the first reason, Keynesianism is now seen as the “only game in town,” as the “go-to” policy cure for crises and recessions, even though, as a mere modern mode of mercantilism, it’s more often the cause of such troubles. Third, Keynesianism reflects and rationalizes the biases of statists who distrust or detest capitalism for ideological-political reasons and wish (always) to expand the size, scope and power of the state.

Nevertheless, with Saysian and Keynesian models available for all to see and assess, a more robust, fruitful debate can ensue. It’s helpful that “Saysian” and “Keynesian” rhymes (my intent). I hope before long the term “Saysian” will be heard at least as often as “Keynesian.” Meantime, friends of capitalism who hear “Keynesian economics” and “Keynesian policy prescriptions” should cite “Saysian economics” and offer “Saysian policy prescriptions.”

Say’s Principles: Original, Provocative, Timeless

Among historians of thought, Say is often miscast as a mere “popularizer” of Adam Smith’s works, but though he admired Smith as a pioneer, he was no mimic. Many passages in the Treatise identify Smith’s methodological and doctrinal errors and substitute truths in their place. For Say, Smith wasn’t sufficiently pro-capitalist. In a letter to Malthus in 1821 he wrote: “Smith has not embraced all the phenomena of the production and consumption of wealth,” and though “I revere Adam Smith,” nevertheless “I learned to go alone. Now I have ceased to belong to any school.” “I submit to the decrees of eternal reason, and I am not afraid to declare it.” The Treatise rejects roughly a half-dozen of Smith’s erroneous ideas, including his belief in the labor theory of value, his denial of the productivity of services, and his defense of usury laws. Say’s objectivity and independence made him reject the labor theory of value even as predecessors and successors—Smith (1776), Ricardo (1817), Malthus (1821), Mill (1848), and Marx (1869)—accepted it in their own texts, helping promote (by intent or not) anti-capitalism.

Summarizing his main discoveries and doctrines, we find that Say:

  1. contends that strict preservation and protection of private property advances both justice and prosperity;
  2. explains how intelligence is the main source of wealth and profit is the net production of wealth, not a “theft” from laborers nor an unearned monopolist “rent”;
  3. explains why a harmony of interests exists among seemingly disparate classes and all the factors of production, and why machinery is good and not, as Smith, Ricardo, and Marx believed, a source of alienation or mass joblessness;
  4. recognizes entrepreneurs as the premier producers, because skilled solicitors, organizers, motivators, and payers of the various factors of productions
  5. defends as productive what later became known as the “service sector” (including finance);
  6. promulgates the “law of markets” (later, “Say’s Law”), the principle that supply constitutes demand, that production has primacy (we must produce before we can demand), that aggregate supply and aggregate demand are inseparable (like two sides of a coin), so no aggregate “over-production” (or “general glut”) can possibly arise;8
  7. explains how recessions are caused not by prior episodes of “over-production” (or “deficient demand”) but by government impediments to producing and profiting (such as punitive or arbitrary taxation and regulation);
  8. rejects the labor theory of value (that economic value reflects some embodied time spent in manual labor) and in its stead explicates and advances the idea that utility is the sole basis of value and price, as embodied in prices;
  9. shows that the value of finished goods determines production costs (not the reverse);
  10. distinguishes demand and consumption, the first being a desire to purchase coupled with purchasing power (prior production), the latter a destruction (using up) of wealth; real demand is synonymous with supply; consumption per se (unless part of a net-value creation in a production process) is no boon to wealth-creation.9

That Say’s principles and policies are sorely needed today should be evident when we recall the pervasive trailing influence of myths perpetrated by Malthus, Marx, and Keynes. Malthus was the Keynes of Say’s time (early 1800s), a “general glut” worrywart, but Say refuted him directly in an exchange of letters,10 and so thoroughly as well, by using timeless principles, that the refutations were no less applicable (and devastating) to subsequent versions of similar error, whether pushed by Sismondi (1773-1842), Rodbertus (1805-1875), Marx, (1818-1883) or Keynes (1883-1946). It wasn’t necessary re-invent the wheel (Say’s Law), only to recall and re-apply it.

Sustainable Prosperity Requires the Protection of Private Property

Say was a principled defender of the constitutionally limited state, even more consistently so than many of his classically liberal contemporaries (or successors). To his credit, he was also no anarchist.

Perhaps Say is at his best when explaining the connection between politically protected property rights and economic progress. He devotes an entire chapter of the Treatise to “the right of property” and explains its many positive consequences. Economic derangements, in contrast, reflect rights violations.11 “Of all the means by which a government can stimulate production,” he wrote, “none is so powerful as the perfect security of person and property, especially from the aggressions of arbitrary power. This security is itself a source of public prosperity.”

Salsman: Rent Selling Countries are More Corrupt and Less Wealthy

According to Say, “the healthy state of industry and wealth is the state of absolute liberty, in which each interest is left to take care of itself.” Only with security of private property and sanctity of voluntary contract “can the sources of production, namely land, capital and industry, attain their utmost degree of fecundity.” Economic stagnation ensues if, due to bad policies, producer confidence wanes. “In times of political confusion and under an arbitrary government,” Say explains, “many will prefer to keep their capital inactive, concealed and unproductive, either of profit or gratification, rather than run the risk of its display. This latter evil is never felt under good government.” The “immutable laws” of political economy, as is so of the physical sciences, are true regardless of opinion, regardless of convention. Say gets this—and shows it—by his rational, integrative approach.

The Tragic Failure of Say’s Successors

Sadly, too few influential economists in the past century have grasped or used Saysian economics (or Say’s Law) to combat falsehoods. That’s why we see economies periodically enmeshed in destructive crises (1930s, 1970s, 2000-02, 2008-10, 2020) caused not by “market failure” but government failure—not by capitalism but varieties of anti-capitalism—with misdiagnoses ensuring future crises. We see economies weighed down by rights-abridging labor laws (including minimum wage laws), financial sector regulation, and punitive-confiscatory taxation, embodying Marxian myths “alienation,” “exploitation,” and “parasitism.” We observe persistent and pervasive Keynesian myths claiming that “deficient demand” causes recessions or that “excessive growth” causes inflation; such myths give rise to volatile, damaging monetary policies, debt monetization, and misnamed deficit-spending “stimulus” schemes that depress economies.12 We see tax codes hailed as “progressive,” as if progress flows from confiscatory rates and wealth is multiplied by dividing it. Meanwhile, “pro-market” neoclassical economists push perpetual government “fixes” to cure “market failures,” defined as market winners who disobey imaginary features of a Platonic-egalitarian model of an alleged “perfect” competition.13 We see economies strain under anti-capitalist environmental agencies and policies that codify sensational, unproved claims and phobias, derived mainly from long-refuted Malthusian myths, about “excessive” population growth and resource depletion.

Today most of Say’s doctrines are flatly denied (or blithely ignored) by Keynesians. Say’s views are most closely endorsed by supply-side economists, although today’s supply-siders are but a pale imitation of Say (and perpetuate many Keynesian fallacies). Nevertheless, even the (watered-down) supply-side program of Reaganomics in the 1980s (of which we still see vestiges today) was closer to Saysian economics than to Keynesian economics (which dominated in the 1960s and 1970s).14 Economic-investment performance has been far better under Saysian policies than Keynesian policies.

"Old, but True Always" Beats "New, but False"

Why consult a treatise that’s two centuries old? Many of Say’s principles have been lost or obscured, to the detriment of sound policy and sustainable prosperity. The Treatise is also a powerful antidote to the many Keynesian and Marxian notions that persist today and still inflict harm. Lost knowledge has bedeviled economics before. Classical economists (Say included) refuted protectionist mercantilists and taught how “the wealth of nations” is achievable for those who adopt rational policies. Marx and the socialists then gained influence by claiming capitalism was evil and unsustainable. Beginning in the 1870s the neoclassical and Austrian schools refuted Marx but rendered economics desiccated and overly mathematized. Keynes followed, blaming the Great Depression of the 1930s on a “deficiency of aggregate demand,” in the process illogically rejecting Say’s law and repeating the “general glut” myth, as initially pushed by Malthus in the 1820s. Marxian-Keynesian myths, we know, always stoke demand for state intervention, which Say rightly identifies as the cause of economic miseries.

Say’s principles have been rejected by Marxians and Keynesians but defended by great, prominent liberals—including Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850),15 William Hutt (1899-1988),16 Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973),17 and Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993).18 To its credit, for decades FEE has promoted the works of this heroic minority. As mentioned, Say’s principles were partly adopted in the “supply-side” policies of the 1980s, which fostered entrepreneurial activity, encouraged production, saving, and investment, and substantially revitalized America’s economy well into the 1990s. Even when applied in diluted form, Saysian political economy has performed wonders for ailing and failing economies. Saysian economics has been “modernized” and proved practical, to the extent incorporated in supply-side economics, but more must be done if it’s to live and serve humanity’s future.

Henry Hazlitt in 1959 described Keynesian economics thus: “what’s old in it isn’t new, and what’s new in it isn’t true.” Exactly right. Saysian economics may be old, to some—and therefore untrue, to them alone—but in truth it’s both old and true, and as such, can be made new again, respected again, applied again—because it’s true.

The Case for a Rational, Reality-Based Methodology

In the introduction to the Treatise, Say provides a penetrating assessment of the history of economic thought, distinguishing his innovations; he makes a case for using Bacon’s empirical-inductive method, then adopt it assiduously in his text, carefully deriving valid principles from objectively observed facts. Say rejects both “a priori” deduction (as in Ricardo’s work) and blind statistical empiricism (as in Malthus’s work).

Say believed political economy should be scientific, understandable, moral, and practical. Much of contemporary economics fails, to varying degrees, on each count, partly because it’s “method” is overly formal-mathematical, based on deliberately unrealistic assumptions, but also because it bifurcates reality into the realms of morality-politics and efficiency-economics, the first modeled as “normative” (emotive, arbitrary, merely asserted), the second as “positive” (factual, scientific, provable). But then, quite illogically, economists presume an innumerable array of “market failures,” magically fixable because somehow there exist wise, moral, and competent politicians, served by like-minded and motivated career bureaucrats. It’s all so utterly preposterous, of course. For Say, such error is avoided when we recognize that all fields must be scientific, not only the “natural” sciences but the social sciences too—ethics, politics, the law, economics. In Say’s words, from the opening passage of his Treatise,

A science only advances with certainty, when the plan of inquiry and the object of our researches have been clearly defined; otherwise a small number of truths are loosely laid hold of, without their connection being perceived, and numerous errors, without being enabled to detect their fallacy. For a long time the science of politics, in strictness limited to the investigation of the principles which lay the foundation of the social order, was confounded with political economy, which unfolds the manner in which wealth is produced, distributed, and consumed. Wealth, nevertheless, is essentially independent of political organization. Under every form of government, a state, whose affairs are well administered, may prosper. Nations have risen to opulence under absolute monarchs and have been ruined by popular councils [democracy]. If political liberty is more favorable to the development of wealth, it is indirectly, in the same manner that it is more favorable to general education.
All human knowledge is connected. Accordingly, it is necessary to ascertain the points of contact, or the articulations by which the different branches are united; by this means, a more exact knowledge will be obtained of whatever is peculiar to each, and where they run into one another.
In political economy, as in natural philosophy, and in every other study, systems have been formed before facts have been established; the place of the latter being supplied by purely gratuitous assertions. More recently, the inductive method of philosophizing, which, since the time of Bacon, has so much contributed to the advancement of every other science, has been applied to the conduct of our researches in this. The excellence of this method consists in only admitting facts carefully observed, and the consequences rigorously deduced from them; thereby effectually excluding those prejudices and authorities which, in every department of literature and science, have so often been interposed between man and truth. But, is the whole extent of the meaning of the term, facts, so often made use of, perfectly understood?

A Challenging, Productive, Consequential Life

Say lived courageously, in a time of tumult. Facing Napoleon’s censorship, he extolled rights and liberty.19 He attributed crises and recessions not to “market failures” but unjust, distortive state interventions. As both an intellectual and entrepreneur, Say was a principled “classical liberal” who contributed much to the Enlightenment, the 18th century epoch when reason and science were widely respected and applied to fields as diverse as astronomy, biology, and political economy.

The first French edition of the Treatise appeared in 1803, the second not until 1814 (due to Napoleon’s wrath). Use of the text spread quickly in Europe. In 1821 an English version appeared and for five subsequent decades it was adopted by professors as the main textbook in political economy at leading US colleges, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. The Treatise was considered superior to rivals because it was sophisticated, logically ordered, and well-written. Say originated the sensible tripartite division of the discipline into the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. Production, for Say, deserves the primary focus and thus comes first and occupies roughly half of his text. In contrast, most textbooks today devote undue space to consumption and portray the consumer as super-causal. Producing, Say argues, is more difficult than consuming; the former must surmount innumerable hurdles and isn’t automatic; the latter takes care of itself. Production is the creation of useful wealth (utility), while consumption is the destruction of wealth. We produce so that we can consume, but also so that we can save and accumulate wealth. We cannot, as many say, boost production by boosting consumption (least of all by government); nor can we prosper more simply by saving less.

Say’s influence on America in the 19th century was important to her remarkable, unprecedented rise, domestically and globally. In a letter to the American editor of his Treatise, Say asked “where should we expect sound doctrine to be better received than within a nation that supports and illustrates the value of free principles, by the most striking examples?” and added that “the old states of Europe are cankered with prejudices and bad habits” while “it is America who will teach them the height of prosperity which may be reached when governments follow the counsels of reason, and do not cost too much.” Say’s great Treatise being so readily and widely deployed in American colleges, it’s possible to conclude without doubt that he more than anyone else taught sound economics to Americans, in a century when, not coincidentally, they advanced so much in their liberty and prosperity.

The great French liberal Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) popularized much of Say’s political economy and in his Economic Harmonies (1848)20 wrote of Say and Say’s Law as follows:

It is fortunate for society that men of genius like Say have patiently and tirelessly applied themselves to observing, classifying, and setting down methodically all the facts that constitute this excellent science [of political economy]. Henceforth the human mind can move forward from this firm base toward new horizons. . . You too might be able to take this same torch from the hands of your predecessors and turn its light upon some of the dark recesses of the social sciences, and particularly upon those that have recently been plunged into darkness by the dissemination of mad doctrines.

The torch for Bastiat is Say’s Law. There’s no more important principle in political economy to get right and avoid getting wrong. As Bastiat knew, it’s akin to a torch that illuminates and facilitates the spread of knowledge, based on reason and reality. The torch helps us avoid a deleterious dissent into the darkness of “mad doctrines.”

If, as Say requires, the principles of political economy must be derived inductively from the facts of reality and applied deductively to new cases, they’ll be practical and thus worth studying. As Gilles Jacound explains,

Jean-Baptiste sought to make the subject of political economy known to a wide public and taught it right up to the last few weeks of his life. For Say, political economy is worth studying because it’s capable of making men more virtuous and societies more civilized. To do this, it must establish irrefutable truths. This is possible thanks to use of the experimental method which, in political economy, enables the establishment of laws as sound as those that exist in the field of physics. Once these laws are known, they help individuals act according to their true interests, enabling them to improve their material conditions. The material affluence favored by the knowledge of political economy contributes to men’s fulfilment and makes nations more civilized.21

Our Potential Saysian Future

Jean-Baptiste Say was, Palmer explains, “an economist in troubled times.”22 Likewise, today’s Saysian economist lives in troubled times, as an unprotected minority, troubled by the sight of crises and chaos caused by contraventions of pro-capitalist, pro-constitutional (Saysian) principles, yet blamed on freedom and met with still further resort to Keynesian excuses and abuses, pushing the world still further down a still-worse road to serfdom. Still, the Saysian principles abide; they exist; they’re true; they’re valuable, retrievable, applicable.

Draw My Life: My Name is Finance

America at her best once knew and practiced Say’s political economy. Then she lost it. But being true and timeless, it can be revisited, re-learned, and applied anew, in contemporary times, for the peace, propriety, and prosperity of all. Let’s now see who dares to seize Say’s torch, to wield it courageously for human betterment.


1 At FEE, see A Treatise on Political Economy (1880 edition; initial publication 1803). For an convenient, searchable version of the Treatise, click here.

2 For profiles of Say and his works, see Online Library of Liberty, Mises Institute, and David M. Hart, “The Life and Works of Jean-Baptiste Say,” The Library of Economics and Liberty, January 2, 2001.

3 Richard M. Salsman, “The Mind-Based Etymology of ‘Capitalism,’” The Objective Standard, Winter 2018.

4 Jean-Baptiste Say, Catechism of Political Economy (1821).

5 Larry J. Sechrest, “Jean-Baptiste Say: Neglected Champion of Laissez-Faire,” July 15, 2000.”

6 Richard M. Salsman, “Saysian Economics,” Part I (December 31, 2003) and Part II (January 4, 2004), The Capitalist Advisor, InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., summarized here. The full report is available upon request, here: rmsalsman@intermarketforecasting.com.

7 For a worthy exception, see the works of Steven Kates, especially Two Hundred Years of Say's Law: Essays on Economic Theory's Most Controversial Principle (Edward Elgar, 2003); Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution: How Macroeconomic Theory Lost its Way (Edward Elgar, 2009); What's Wrong with Keynesian Economic Theory? (Edward Elgar, 2016); and for today’s classroom or self-study, Free Market Economics: An Introduction for the General Reader (Edward Elgar, 2017).

8 Temporary micro-level surpluses (or shortages) can occur but are brief and necessarily, fully counterbalanced by micro-level shortages (or surpluses) elsewhere; persistent micro imbalances arise only if price adjustment is resisted, discouraged, or legally prohibited. For more on Say’s Law, see Richard M. Salsman, “Say’s Law versus Keynesian Economics,” American Institute for Economic Research, February 9, 2020; Richard M. Ebeling, “Jean-Baptiste Say and His Timeless Law of Markets,” Foundation for Economic Education, July 6, 2017; Steven Horwitz, “Understanding Say’s Law of Markets,” Foundation for Economic Education, January 1, 1997;  Thomas Sowell, Say’s Law: An Historical Analysis (1972); William Hutt, A Rehabilitation of Say’s Law (1974); and two books by Steven Kates: Two Hundred Years of Say's Law: Essays on Economic Theory's Most Controversial Principle (Edward Elgar, 2003) and Say’s Law and the Keynesian Revolution: How Macroeconomic Theory Lost its Way (Edward Elgar, 2009). See also, Steven Horowitz, “Say’s Law is Back: Steven Kates Rehabilitates Say’s Law of Markets,” Foundation for Economic Education, August 1, 1999.

9 In the Treatise Say contends that “the encouragement of mere consumption is of no benefit to commerce, for the difficulty lies in supplying the means, not in stimulating the desire to consume; it is the aim of good government to stimulate production, of bad government to encourage consumption.” Moreover, government is primarily (often significantly) a consumer, not a productive institution which can “stimulate” an economy (beyond its legitimate purpose of legally protecting private property rights and ensuring the rule of law).

10 Jean Baptiste Say, Letters to Mr. Malthus (1821).

11 See also Gary M. Galles, “Jean Baptiste Say on Why Property Rights Are the Key to Prosperity,” Foundation for Economic Education, February 18, 2019.

12 See Richard M. Salsman, “The Production of Money Isn’t (Necessarily) the Production of Wealth,” American Institute for Economic Research, March 18, 2019; James C.W. Ahiakpor, “On the Mythology of the Keynesian Multiplier: Unmasking the Myth and the Inadequacies of Some Earlier Criticisms,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 60(4), October 2001, pp. 745-773; Casey B. Mulligan, The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy (Oxford, 2012); and two by Harvard’s Robert Barro: “Government Spending is No Free Lunch,” Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2009 and “Voodoo Multipliers,” Economists’ Voice, February 2009, pp. 1-4.

13 George Reisman, “Platonic Competition,” Mises Daily Articles, Mises Institute, December 20, 2005.

14 See Raymond Keating, “A Walk on the Supply Side,” Foundation for Economic Education, June 1, 1995, who writes that “the seeds of supply-side thought were firmly planted by such classical economists as Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say.” According to Bruce Bartlett (Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action, 1981), “In many respects, supply-side economics is nothing more than classical economics rediscovered. More particularly, it is Say’s Law of markets rediscovered. The essence of Say’s Law, named after the great French economist Jean-Baptiste Say, is that goods are ultimately paid for with other goods. Thus, it is production which limits the satisfaction of human wants, not the ability to consume.” Bartlett and Timothy Roth (The Supply-Side Solution, 1983) explain that “in the 1830s the great French economist Jean Baptiste Say articulated what has come to be called supply-side economics. Say’s Law declared that goods are ultimately paid for with other goods. Thus, it is aggregate supply that determines national income.”

15 Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies (1850).

16 William H. Hutt, A Rehabilitation of Say's Law (1974).

17 Ludwig von Mises, “Lord Keynes and Say’s Law,” The Freeman, Foundation for Economic Education, October 30, 1950.

18 Henry Hazlitt, “Keynes vs. Say’s Law,” in The Failure of the New Economics (1959).

19 Scholarly and illuminating intellectual-biographical accounts include R.R. Palmer, J-B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times (Princeton, 1997); Evelyn L. Forget, The Social Economics of Jean-Baptiste Say: Markets and Virtue (Routledge, 1999); Richard Whatmore, Republicanism and the French Revolution: An Intellectual History of Jean-Baptiste Say’s Political Economy (Oxford, 2000); and Evert Schoorl, Jean-Baptiste Say: Revolutionary, Entrepreneur, Economist (Routledge, 2013).

20 Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies (1850).

21 Gilles Jacound, “Why Does Jean-Baptiste Say Think Economics is Worth Studying?” History of Economics Review 55 (Winter 2012), pp. 29-46

22 R.R. Palmer, J-B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times (Princeton, 1997).

Richard M. Salsman Ph.D.
About the author:
Richard M. Salsman Ph.D.

Dr. Richard M. Salsman is a professor of political economy at Duke University, founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and senior scholar at The Atlas Society. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank and an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. Dr. Salsman has authored five books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (1990), The Collapse of Deposit Insurance and the Case for Abolition (1993), Gold and Liberty (1995), The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (2017), and Where Have all the Capitalists Gone?: Essays in Moral Political Economy (2021). He is also author of a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Sun, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. He speaks frequently before pro-liberty student groups, including Students for Liberty (SFL), Young Americans for Liberty(YAL), Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), and the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

1981年にボウディン大学で法学と経済学の学士号を、1988年にニューヨーク大学で経済学の修士号を、2012年にデューク大学で政治経済学の博士号を取得しています。個人ウェブサイトはhttps://richardsalsman.com/ にある。

アトラス・ソサエティでは、サルスマン博士が毎月モラル&マーケットウェビナーを開催し、倫理、政治、経済、市場の交わりを探っています。また、毎月私たちのインスタグラムで 見られる、サルスマン氏のインスタグラム・テイクオーバーHEREからの抜粋も見ることができます





この90分のオーディオ・インタビューでは、聴衆の質疑応答も交えながら、サルスマン博士が、1) 国家の利己主義が米国の外交政策を導くべき(しかしそうではない)理由、2) NATOの数十年にわたるロシア国境への東方拡大(ウクライナを追加する可能性も示唆)。2)NATOの数十年にわたるロシア国境への東方拡大(そしてウクライナへの拡大も示唆)が、ロシア・ウクライナ紛争と現在の戦争に拍車をかけている理由です。3) レーガン-ブッシュがいかに英雄的に(そして平和的に)冷戦に勝利したか、4) 今世紀の民主党の大統領(クリントン、オバマ、バイデン)がいかに/なぜ冷戦後の平和を育もうとせず、NATOを押し付け、ロシアに対して不当に好戦的であり、米国の国力と安全を損なってきたか。ウクライナはなぜ不自由で腐敗しており、米国の真の同盟国(あるいはNATO加盟国)ではなく、米国の国家安全保障とは無関係であり、いかなる種類の米国公式支援にも値しないのか、6)MMIC(軍事・メディア・産業複合体)が大きく推進する、今日の超党派でほぼ均質な拡大戦争への支持が、なぜ無謀で不吉であるか。

ウクライナ事実はプーチンを許さないが、NATOを非難 する--『資本主義スタンダード』2022年3月14日号







先週、トランプに触発された右翼が連邦議会議事堂を襲撃した余波で、それぞれの「側」は、他方を偽善だと、「説いたことを実践しない」、「話を歩まない」と、当然のことながら非難した。昨年の夏、左翼はポートランド、シアトル、ミネアポリスなどでの自分たちの暴力を(「平和的抗議」として)正当化しようとしたが、今は国会議事堂での右翼の暴力を糾弾している。悪徳である偽善が、なぜ今、これほどまでに偏在しているのだろうか。 その反対は誠実さという美徳である。この美徳は、何十年もの間、大学が哲学的なプラグマティズムを教え込んできたからである。この教義は、「実用性」に助言するのではなく、固定した有効な原則は不可能(したがって処分可能)、意見は操作可能であると主張することによってそれを弱体化する。プラグマティストにとって、「知覚は現実」であり、「現実は交渉可能」である。 現実の代わりに「仮想現実」、正義の代わりに「社会正義」を好む。彼らは、偽物とインチキをすべて体現している。行動指針として残るのは、日和見主義、便宜主義、「急進派のためのルール」、議論に勝つため、大義を進めるため、法律を制定するため、少なくとも今のところ(...それが機能しなくなるまで)「機能する」ものだけである。今日の超党派の暴力を説明するものは何か?理性(と客観性)の欠如である。理性がなくなれば、説得も平和的な集会や抗議もなくなります。残るのは感情論、そして暴力である。




ジャン=バティスト・セイ(1767-1832)は、憲法で制限された国家を原則的に擁護し、同時代の古典的自由主義者の多くよりも、さらに一貫してそうであった。経済学の第一原理である「セイの法則」で最も知られている彼は、資本主義という言葉が(反対派によって1850年代に)作られる何十年も前から、最も一貫した強力な提唱者の一人と見なされるべきでしょう。 私はこの数十年間、政治経済をかなり研究してきたが、セイの『政治経済学論』(1803年)は、同時代の著作だけでなく、アダム・スミスの『国富論』(1776年)やルートヴィヒ・フォン・ミーゼスの『人間行動 論』などを凌ぐ、この分野で出版された最高の著作だと考えている。経済学論考 』(1949年)などを凌ぐ、この分野での最高傑作である。

財政金融の「刺激」は鬱陶しい--The Hill, May 26, 2020





政府」という言葉を聞くと、私たちの多くは政治、つまり国家、政権、首都、機関、官僚機構、行政、政治家を思い浮かべます。私たちは彼らを「役人」と呼び、ユニークで高貴な、そして権威ある地位を有していると思い込んでいます。 しかし、それは私たちの生活における統治の1つのタイプに過ぎず、3つのタイプは、公的統治、私的統治、個人的統治です。それぞれを支配圏として考えるのがベストだが、権利と自由の保持を最適化するためには、3つのバランスが必要である。最近の不吉な傾向は、公的(政治的)ガバナンスが個人的ガバナンスと私的ガバナンスの領域を持続的に侵犯していることである。


今日の政治家は、食料、住宅、医療、仕事、育児、よりクリーンで安全な環境、交通、学校教育、光熱費、そして大学まで、多くのものを「無料」あるいは公的な補助を受けるべきだと声高に、尊大に主張しています。なぜそのような主張が有効なのか、誰も問わない。 盲目的に信じたり、単なる直感(フィーリング)で肯定したりするのだろうか。科学的とは思えない。 すべての重要な主張は、論理と証拠のテストに合格する必要があるのではないでしょうか?なぜ無料配布のクレームは、多くの人にとって「良い響き」なのか? 実は、それらは意地悪で、冷酷でさえあり、非自由主義的で、それゆえ根本的に非人道的だからです。自由で資本主義的な憲政システムにおいては、法の下の平等な正義があるべきであり、差別的な法的扱いはあってはならない。 すべての個人(または団体)は自由に選択し、行動することができなければなりません。その際、たかりや略奪に頼るべきではありません。 政治運動や政策決定におけるフリービー・アプローチは、図々しくもムーチングに迎合し、政府の規模、範囲、力を拡大することによって、略奪を制度化するものでもあります。








理性、合理的自己利益、個人主義、資本主義、アメリカニズムを謳い、ベストセラーとなった小説家・哲学者のアイン・ランド(1905-1982)の『Atlas Shrugged』(1957)が出版されてから今日で60周年になります。これほど古い本で、ハードカバーでも売れ続けている本はほとんどなく、多くの投資家やCEOがそのテーマと洞察を長く賞賛している。1990年代に米国議会図書館とブック・オブ・ザ・マンス・クラブが行った調査では、回答者は「アトラス・シュラッグド」を「自分の人生に大きな変化をもたらした本」として、聖書に次いで2番目に挙げている。 社会主義者がランドを拒絶するのは、資本主義が搾取的で崩壊しやすいという彼らの主張を否定しているからであり、保守派がランドを警戒するのは、資本主義が宗教を頼りにしていることを否定しているからであることは、理解できる。彼女の大きな貢献は、資本主義が経済的に生産的なシステムであるだけでなく、道徳的に公正なシステムであることを示したことです。 資本主義は、正直で、誠実で、自立していて、生産性の高い人々に報いるものであり、その代わりに人間以下の存在を選ぶ人々を疎外し、悪意ある者や非人道的な者を罰するものである。資本主義派、社会主義派、あるいは両者に無関心な人であろうと、本書は一読の価値がある--『泉源』(1943年)、『利己主義の美徳』(1943年)など、彼女の他の著作も同様である。エゴイズムの新しい概念』(1964年)、『資本主義。未知の理想』(1966年)。



不平等論争:何を稼ぐかを考えなければ無意味--Forbes, February 1, 2012

この困難な時代の真に重要な問題、すなわち「政府の適切な大きさと範囲は何か」(答え:小さい)、「資本主義を増やすべきか、それとも企業主義を増やすべきか」(答え:大きい)を議論する代わりに、私たちは、この問題を解決することができる。(とか、「資本主義とコーポラティズムのどちらを重視すべきか?(政治メディアは、代わりに「不平等」の弊害を論じています。最近、彼らの恥知らずな妬みが横行しているが、不平等に焦点を当てることは、保守派にとっても左翼にとっても都合がいい。 オバマ氏は、「公正」という誤った理論を受け入れている。それは、年配のアメリカ人が「砂漠」として認識するかもしれない、常識的で功利的な正義の概念を否定するものである。正しくは、善良で生産的な行動に対して報酬を与える「分配的正義」と、悪や破壊的な行動に対して罰を与える「応報的正義」がある。


資本主義は人類史上最高の社会経済システムである。道徳的であるのは、合理性と利己心、つまり「啓蒙された欲」を擁し、それを育むからである。それは、物質的・経済的な豊かさだけでなく、芸術やエンターテインメントに見られるような美的価値も生み出します。しかし、資本主義とはいったい何なのでしょうか?資本主義とは一体何なのだろうか。また、資本主義とは何なのだろうか。 資本主義の最大の知的支持者であるアイン・ランド(1905-1982)は、かつて資本主義を "財産権を含む個人の権利の承認に基づく社会システムであり、すべての財産は個人所有である "と定義しました。この真の権利(自分の望むものを得るために他人に強制する「権利」ではない)の承認は、すべてにおいて重要であり、それは独特の道徳的基盤を持っています。実際、資本主義は、権利、自由、礼節、平和、そして犠牲を伴わない繁栄のシステムであり、他人の犠牲の上に資本家を不当に優遇する政府のシステムではないのです。資本主義とは、権利、自由、平和、犠牲を伴わない繁栄のシステムであり、資本家を不当に優遇し、他者を犠牲にするような政府のシステムではない。公平な法的競争条件を提供し、目立たないように審判を務める役人がいる(独断でルールを作ったり、スコアを変えたりしない)。確かに、資本主義には、野心、才能、収入、富などの不平等がつきものですが、それは、個人(および企業)の本当の姿がそうだからです。


多くの人が、なぜワシントンでは、過剰な支出、財政赤字、負債を解決するための政策について、いつまでも膠着状態にあるのか疑問に思っています。問題の根源は「偏向政治」であり、「過激派」が議論を支配し、超党派の結束だけがもたらすことのできる解決策を排除していると言われます。 実際には、多くの問題で「両陣営」は完全に合意している。 つまり、特に道徳的に「正しいことをする」ことの意味について、両者の意見が一致しているため、あまり変化がないのです。あまり報道されていませんが、政治的に左派であれ右派であれ、民主党や共和党の多くはかなり宗教的であり、したがって現代の福祉国家を支持する傾向にあります。すべての政治家がそう強く思っているわけではないにしても、有権者はそう思っているのではないかと(当然ながら)疑っている。したがって、政府支出を抑制しようとするちょっとした提案でさえ、その提案者は冷淡で、無情で、無慈悲で、非キリスト教的だと非難されるのである。

資本家たちはどこへ行ったのか? -- フォーブス』2010年12月5日号