Title

Benjamin Franklin: A Liberal Practitioner of Political Economy

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of This Version

9-1-1994

Abstract

Few eighteenth century practitioners of political economy have been as misunderstood or stereotyped as Benjamin Franklin. His economic essays which spanned a sixty-one year period (1729-1790), still create disagreement among scholars even on the doctrinal origins of Franklin's economic ideas. If Franklin was not a mercantilist, neither was he exclusively a physiocrat nor an early classical economist, especially if both of these schools or early "research programs" in economics are viewed as mutually exclusive. As this paper will show, there was a unity and consistency in Franklin's political economy, and it reflected the content and liberal character of physiocratic and early classical thought.

Working Paper Number

9404

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