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Who is Jean-Baptiste Say?

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Tags BiographiesMoney and BanksHistory of the Austrian School of EconomicsProduction Theory

06/11/2018Per Bylund

Per Bylund explains the many contributions of Jean-Baptiste Say (1767–1832), a precursor to the Austrian school of economics. Today, Say is most well known for his “law of markets” which is now referred to simply as “Say’s Law.” Often misstated as “supply creates its own demand,” the law is that we produce and supply to the market in order that we may demand other goods in exchange. Production, therefore, is an indirect means to attain the goods and services we desire to meet our needs. 

Say also made contributions in the theory of money, including how it emerges spontaneously, and why the commodity serving as a medium of exchange needs characteristics of durability, divisibility, and high value per unit, with the choice of commodity should be left to consumer preferences. Other highlights include his distinction between banks of deposit and banks of circulation. 

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