Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay

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Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (French: [də ɡuʁnɛ]; 28 May 1712, Saint-Malo – 27 June 1759, Cádiz), a French economist, became an intendant of commerce. Some historians of economics believe that he coined the phrase laissez faire, laissez passer.[1] Evidence was to be found when the French State parted the West Indies Company privilege - monopoly - on the slave trade. He is also credited with coining the term "bureaucracy". Together with François Quesnay, whose disciple he was,[1] he was a leader of the Physiocratic School.

Gournay's father was Claude Vincent, a merchant in Saint-Malo as well as a secretary to the king.[2] Gournay didn't write much, but had a great influence on French economic thought through his conversations with many important theorists. He became instrumental in popularizing the work of Richard Cantillon in France.[3]

Gournay was appointed[by whom?] an intendant du commerce in 1751. One of the main themes of his term in office was his opposition to government regulations because of what he saw as the way they stunted commerce. He coined the term bureaucratie (literally "government by desks") to describe the situation.[4] Gournay's disdain for government regulation of commerce influenced his disciple Turgot.[5]

Gournay's first name is often mistakenly given as "Jean", due to an error made by Turgot in his letter to Jean-François Marmontel known as In Praise of Gournay.[6]

A street in Saint-Malo, the Rue Vincent-de-Gournay, takes its name from him.[7]


  1. ^ a b Ellen Judy Wilson; Peter Hanns Reill (1 August 2004). Encyclopedia Of The Enlightenment. Infobase Publishing. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-8160-5335-3. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  2. ^ Dugald Stewart; John Veitch (1877). The Collected Works of Dugald Stewart: Translations of the passages in foreign languages contained in the collected works of Dugald Stewart. With general index. 1860. T. Constable and co. [etc. ]. p. 238. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  3. ^ Murray N. Rothbard (2006). Economic Thought Before Adam Smith. Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 386. ISBN 978-0-945466-48-2. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  4. ^ Haridimos Tsoukas; Christian Knudsen (23 June 2005). The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory. Oxford Handbooks Online. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-19-927525-0. Retrieved 21 July 2012. To symbolize a government run by insensitive rule-makers and rule-enforcers who did not care about the consequences of their actions, he coined the sarcastic term 'bureaucratie' - government by desks.
  5. ^ James J. McLain (1977). The Economic Writings of Du Pont de Nemours. University of Delaware Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-87413-114-7. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  6. ^ Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques. Turgot Collection, The. Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 99n. ISBN 978-1-933550-94-7. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  7. ^ Henri-Georges Gaignard (1973). Connaître Saint-Malo (in French). Fernand Lanore. p. 239. Retrieved 21 July 2012.

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