Say, Jean-Baptiste

BORN 5 Jan 1767, Lyon - DIED 15 Nov 1832, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 39, ligne 06, N, 32)

Jean-Baptiste Say was the son of the Protestant Jean-Étienne Say. He was sent to England to be educated for a commercial career and worked for two sugar merchants. The second company was Samuel and William Hibbert. He made a voyage to France with Samuel Hibbert, but Hibbert died in Nantes. Say went to Paris where he worked for a life insurance company that was directed by Étienne Clavière (1735-1793).

In 1789 he published a pamphlet on the liberty of the press. During the French Revolution he took the pseudonym Atticus and became secretary to Clavière, who had become Minister of Finance. Clavière was arrested after the fall of the Girondins and committed suicide in December 1793. From 1789 to 1795 Sat was also active as a playwright. From 1794 to 1800 he was the editor of "La Decade philosophique, litteraire, et politique" in which he explained the economic doctrines of Adam Smith. Say was in favour of competition and free trade. He gave up his editorship after he was elected to the Tribunat.

In 1803 his best-known work "Traité d'économie politique ou simple exposition de la manière dont se forment, se distribuent et se composent les richesses" was published. In what is known as Say's Law he stated that 'the production of a product creates demand for another product by providing something of value which can be exchanged for that other product'. Napoleon did not like his treatise and asked him to rewrite several parts. Say refused and subsequently he was removed from the Tribunat in 1804. It was now impossible for him to work as a journalist, and he started a career as an entrepreneur. He founded a spinning-mill at Auchy-lès-Hesdin that employed hundreds of people. A second edition of his main work was published in 1814 after the fall of Napoleon and dedicated to Alexander I, who considered himself Say's pupil. For the French government he studied the economic situation of the United Kingdom and in 1817 he published "De l'Angleterre et des Anglais".

In 1819 he became a professor at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, and he was appointed professor of political economy at the Collège de France in 1831. He died in 1832 in Paris. His brother Louis Auguste Say (1774-1840) and his son Horace (1794-1860) were economists as well.

Related persons
• admired Sismondi, Jean Charles Léonard de
• was influenced by Smith, Adam


The grave of Jean-Baptiste Say at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (02 Nov 2019)


Jean-Baptiste Say - Wikipedia
Say's law - Wikipedia
Jean-Baptiste Say — Wikipédia

Sbolci, Jefte

Published: 17 May 2024
Last update: 17 May 2024