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Nicolas Baudeau

Regular Canon and economist (1730-1792)

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Baudeau, NICOLAS, Regular Canon and economist, b. at Amboise, France, April 25, 1730; d. in 1792. He became a religious of the Abbey of Chancelade, near Perigueux, and taught theology there for some time. It was there that he wrote his “Analyse de l’ouvrage du pape Benoit XIV sur les beatifications et canonisations” (Paris, 1759), which was examined and approved by the pope himself. It is found in Migne’s “Theologiae Cursus Completus” (torn. III). He was called to Paris by the Archbishop de Beaumont and there he gave all his time to the study of economics. In 1765 he founded a periodical “Les Ephemerides du citoyen” in which he attacked the principles of Quesnay and of the physiocratical school. Soon after, he accepted and defended these principles and became one of their most notable supporters. In 1771 he published his most important work, “Premiere introduction a la philosophie economique”, in which he expounds the doctrines of the physiocratical school. There are two great economic factors, nature and art; and there are three kinds of art, fecund or productive, which consists in helping nature to give the most abundant production possible (hunting, fishing, breeding, agriculture, etc.); sterile or non-productive, which gives to these productions a more useful or pleasing form (industry, commerce, etc.); social art, which gives the knowledge, protection, and means necessary for the exercise of the productive and non-productive arts (instruction, religious worship, protection, administration). Productive art is the most important.

When he died he had lost the use of his faculties. Besides the works already mentioned, he wrote “Idees d’un citoyen sur l’administration des finances du roi” (1763); “Idees d’un citoyen sur les besoins, les droits, et les devoirs des vrais pauvres” (1765); “Lettres sur les emeutes populaires” (1768); “Lettres d’un citoyen sur les vingtiemes et autres impots” (1768); “Principes economiques de Louis XII et du Cardinal d’Amboise, de Henri IV, et du duc de Sully sur l’administration des finances” (1775); “Charles V, Louis XII, et Henri IV aux Francais” (1787).


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