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Le Trosne et la question de la dette

Félix, J. ORCID: (2023) Le Trosne et la question de la dette. In: Pollin, J.-P., Pertué, M. and Mergey, A. (eds.) Guillaume-François Le Trosne Itinéraire d’une figure intellectuelle orléanaise au siècle des Lumières. Mare & Martin, Orléans, pp. 129-145. ISBN 978-2-84934-679-2

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This chapter engages with a critical assessment of Sonensher's argument about the crucial role played by the public debt in the work of Mirabeau, and in framing and fostering political discourses before the French revolution. Accordingly, this chapter proposes to examine the place of the public debt in the work of another major physiocrat writer, Le Trosne, who regarded himself as a pupil of both Mirabeau and Quesnay. The chapter starts by examining occurrences of fiscal issues in general, and debt in particular, in Le Trosne's publications. It pursues with a historicisation of the question of debt in the writings of the principal phsyiocrats, starting with Mirabeau's work on provincial estates, moving to the impact of Quesnay's Tableau économique, and examining Le Trosne's reflections on the causes of the failure of reforms informed by these two influential authors in mending royal finances in the 1760s. It pursues with a presentation of Le Trosne's recommendations on ways of paying off the public debt as presented in his last and major work on Assemblées provinciales and published shortly before his death. His central argument is that the introduction of these representative institutions combined with a reform of taxes beneficial to taxpayers would quickly generate tax surpluses that could be assigned to repayment of the debt but would nonetheless be short of the capital to be paid out to creditors, and calls upon the patriotism of the latter to accept reductions on ground that the terms of loans were unfair, that the rentiers would benefit from fiscal reforms, and the suppression of the debt is a condition of economic growth and restoration of fiscal stability. The chapter concludes by assessing Sonensher's argument about the role played by the debt in the intellectual origins of the French revolution, and his critics.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Early Modern Research Centre (EMRC)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Modern European Histories and Cultures
ID Code:112523
Publisher:Mare & Martin

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