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There is a great quotation by Quesnay in chapter ten of Das Kapital: "...ihr gibt zu, dass je mehr man, ohne Nachteil fuer die Produktioni, Kosten oder kostspielige Arbeiten in der Fabrikanten industrieller Produkte ersparen kann, desto vorteilhafter diese Ersparung, weil sie den Preis des Machwerks vermindert. Und trotzdem glaubt ihr, dass die Produktion des Reichtums, der aus den Arbeiten der Industriellen herkommet, in der Vermehrung des Tauschwerts ihres Machwerks besteht [Dialoge ueber den Handel und die industrielle Arbeit]." Who was Quesnay responding to? Can we have some more information on the substantive character of the debates he was engaged in? What is the history of Q's reception from his day to Smith to Marx? Can we answer these questions without overly depending on descriptions of a "Physiocratic school"?
Here is the answer: Marx used the edition of Eugèn Daire: Physiocrates: Quesnay, Dupont de Nemours, Mercier de la Rivière, Paris 1846. In an introductory note Dupont de Nemours explains that the «Dialogues» over commerce and artisans reflect discussions between Quesnay as M. H. and Nicaque and de l´Isle as M. N. in the Journaux de l´agriculture.
But the arguments cannot be understood without unlearning modern economics. In classical economics only land (=nature) is an “original” factor (with decreasing returns as Ricardo was to explain later). Labour and capital are reproducible factors (with increasing returns because of the division of labour as A. Smith was to explain later). And what is reproducible will be reproduced under competitive conditions until any margin has vanished. So, no marginal returns for labour and capital in the long run. Land is scarce because it is not reproducible; is it a sort of monopoly. So in the long run only land will have a margin.
Neoclassical economics is static with “steady state” development as its most advanced feature. “Steady” stands for static: no changes in proportions. An a static theory cannot interprete what “reproducibl” means. Bold text —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 13:08, 6 March 2008 (UTC)