A Sketch of the Life and Projects of John Law of Lauriston,comptroller General of the finances in France By John Wood
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A Sketch Of The Life And Projects Of John Law Of Lauriston,Comptroller General Of The Finances In France
Hamish Riley-Smith Rare Books
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About This Item
A Sketch of the Life and Projects of John Law of Lauriston,comptroller General of the finances in France. Edinburgh, Peter Hill and George Kearsley 1791
Quarto, 29.0 x 23.0 cm, t, pp.(4) + ii + 48, paper wrappers with short tear, original blue paper wrappers, uncut, an excellent copy, preserved in a marbled portfolio with ties.
ESTC T8458. Kress B2240. Goldsmith 14941.
RARE FIRST EDITION of the earliest published biography in English of the Scottish economist John Law. The dedication is to William Davidson of Muirhead.
The son of a prosperous banker John Law [1671-1729] devoted his entire life to making proposals for the establishment of banks, both in Scotland and on the Continent, convinced as he was that the key to economic prosperity lay in augmenting the base of metallic currencies with paper money, particularly paper money backed by land holdings. He was appointed Controller General of Finances in France by the regent Philippe dOrleans in 1716 and the became the architect of the Mississippi Bubble. Law was dismissed from his post in 1720.
His principal theories on money and banking, giving a detailed account of his plan to replace specie with paper currency based on land and of his proposals for a state bank were published in his Money and trade considered, published anonymously in Edinburgh in 1705. Law is described by Schumpeter as "in the front rank of monetary theorists of all times".
Antoin Murphy writes "Money and trade in particular is a seminal work….In it Law discussed not only the money/inflation issue, but, more significantly, the money/output issue. He was contending that money was linked, not just to the price level, but also to output – or trade, as it was then called. Law wanted to show that an expansion of money supply could increase output and employment in an economy characterised by unemployment and under-utilisation of resources. At the same time, he produced a highly innovative approach to macroeconomic theorizing…"
The author of this biography John Wood was to publish in 1794 an account of John Law's ancestral village entitled The Ancient and Modern State of the Parish of Cramond.