Benjamin Franklin's principles of political economy: a speculative inquiry
Edward J. Dodson
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which Benjamin Franklin's understanding of political economy was shaped by his association with the French school of writers known as physiocrats. Design/methodology/approach – The paper works from direct statements by Franklin in his published works and correspondence and biographical sources. Findings – Franklin declared himself to embrace physiocratic principles and ideals but was not able to advance these ideals at home. Research limitations/implications – Further details are undoubtedly available from sources not translated from French into English. Practical implications – The course of history would have been significantly different had the physiocratic ideals become the basis for law and public policies. Originality/value – The paper offers further evidence of the influence of the physiocratic school on Franklin, as one of the leading practical philosophers of his age.
Economic history, Economic theory, Political economy
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