Dissident physiocrats : value, surplus and distribution in the economic writings of Le Trosne, Turgot, Morellet and Isnard
The economic writings of G.-F. Le Trosne (1727-1780), AR.J. Turgot (1727-1781), A Morellet (1727-1819) and AN. Isnard (1749-1803) can be understood as attempts to develop F. Quesnay's seminal conception of the economy as a reproductive system. The idea that the economy annually produces a 'net product' or surplus, above the reproductive requirements of the economy elicits questions such as "what is the 'origin' of the surplus?", and "how is the surplus normally distributed among the social classes?". These and other questions are treated by this younger generation of writers in an original manner. The rejection by Isnard of the physiocratic doctrine of the exclusive productivity of agriculture or Turgot's notion of profit as a return on capital are amendments, rather than rejections, of Quesnay's basic economic model. The later developments in physiocratic theory evince that it was an auspicious approach to economic theory.