The Physiocrats were French economists who were advocates of free trade and deregulation before the French Revolution. Their name came from their belief that the economy operated according to the laws of nature which were discoverable to reasoning individuals. They believed reform should be introduced by persuading the monarchs of the day to behave like “enlightened despots” and reform society “from above.” The works of the Physiocrats were studied carefully by Adam Smith.
For more information see:
- Kaplan, Steven L., Bread, Politics and Political Economy in the Reign of Louis XV, 2 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976).
- Meek, Ronald L., Social Science and the Ignoble Savage (Cambridge University Press, 1976).
- Weulersse, Georges, La Physiocratie sous les ministres de Turgot et de Necker, 1774-1781 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1950).