Table of Contents

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.

Chapter 5: Richard Cantillon (c. 1680/90–1734)

Antoin E. Murphy

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Richard Cantillon was born in Ballyheigue, County Kerry in the south west of Ireland probably between 1680 and 1690. Cantillon formed part of a large-scale emigration of Irish Catholics to France after the signing of the Treaty of Limerick, an event that concluded the Jacobite/Williamite war in Ireland. Cantillon’s uncle was the Jacobite banker, Daniel Arthur, a man who had been largely instrumental in transferring the financial capital of the Irish Jacobites out of Ireland. This connection probably enabled him to be introduced into the world of bankers and financiers. Cantillon’s Career Cantillon worked as a deputy to Anthony Hammond, the representative in Spain of the British Paymaster General to the Forces Abroad, James Brydges. Brydges, who later became Lord Carnarvon and still later the Duke of Chandos (henceforth Chandos), was the biggest war profiteer of the age. He amassed a fortune through foreign exchange transactions on money that was converted from sterling into foreign currencies to pay for the armies overseas. Chandos took his percentage on all provisioning contracts ranging from food to horses, to uniforms, to gunpowder, and so on. By 1717 Cantillon had met up with a far more important personality who was to have a profound effect on the rest of his career. This was the Scotsman, John Law (1671–1729) who had started to put in place his grand design aimed at transforming the French monetary and financial systems – see entry on John Law. Cantillon’s relationship with Law blew hot and cold during the Mississippi...

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