Fascimile of Quesnay’s Tableau On the right side we see a copy of the Tableau Économique of François Quesnay, with its famous “zig-zag” (click for a bigger. François Quesnay’s achievement is one of the most remarkable in the history of economics. He published his first article on an economic problem in when. Quesnay identified three distinct classes: A view of Quesnay’s original Tableau Economique shows a zigzag flow.

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Tableau économique

The diagram above is simplified slightly, but not so as to require any modification of Quesnay’s Explanation. THE productive Expenditure s are employed in agriculture, meadows, pastures, forests, mines, fishing, etc. The sterile Expenses are made upon handicraft products, housing, clothing, interest on money, servants, commercial expenses, foreign commodities, etc.

The sale of the net product which the Cultivator has produced during the preceding year, by means of quesany annual Advances of livres employed in agriculture by the Farmer, furnishes the proprietor a revenue of livres. The annual advances of livres in sterile expenses are employed economiaue the capital quesmay the expenses of commerce, for the purchase of raw materials for the handicrafts, and for the subsistence and other needs of the artisan until he has finished and sold his product.

Of the livres of revenue fracois, one half is spent by the Proprietor on purchases from the productive class, such as bread, wine, meat, etc. These expenditures may incline more or less to one side or the other, as the spender tableeau in more or less for luxury in the way of subsistence or luxury, in the form of ornamentation.

Here the average situation is taken, where the reproductive expenditures renew the same revenue from year to year. But it is easy to see what changes would be caused in the annual reproduction of revenue, as the sterile expenditures or the productive expenditures became more or less important than the other: For, suppose that luxury in the form of ornamentation should increase by a sixth in the case of the Econonique, by a sixth in the case of the Artisan, and by a sixth in the case of the Cultivator, the reproduction of revenue would fall from livres to livres.

If, on the contrary, an increase of expenditure of the same extent occurred in the consumption or the exportation of raw materials, the reproduction of revenue would rise from livres to livres, and so on. Thus we see that an excess of luxury in the way of decoration may quickly ruin with magnificence an opulent Nation. The livres of revenue which were devoted to productive expenditures in the table bring back to this frajcois, in money, advances which reproduce livres net, which make up a part of the reproduction of the Proprietor’s revenue; And by tablewu distribution of the remaining sums which return to this same class, the total revenue is reproduced yearly.

These livres I say, which return to the productive class at first through the sale of the products which the Proprietor buys of them, are spent by the Farmer, half upon the consumption of products furnished by this same class, and the other half upon clothing, implements, tools, etc.

Tableau Economique – Francois Quesnay –

And they arise again with the net product. The livres of the Proprietor’s revenue which were devoted to sterile expenditures are spent by the artisan, half on productive expenditures in the purchase of subsistence, raw materials, and for foreign commerce; the other half qursnay distributed among the sterile class itself for living expenses, and to restore the advances.

This circulation and this reciprocal distribution continues by subdivisions in the same order, down to the last penny of queanay sums which pass reciprocally from one class of expenditures to the other class of expenditures. Circulation brings livres to the sterile class, from which it is necessary to deduct livres for the annual advancesleaving livres for wages.


François Quesnay

These wages are equal to the livres which this class receives from the productive class, and the advances are equal to the livres of revenue which go to this same sterile class. The productions of the other class amount economqiue livres, after deducting taxes, tithes, and interest on the advances of the Husbandman, which will be considered separately, in order to avoid undue complications in analyzing the expenditures.

In the expenditure of the livres of econokique, the Proprietor of the revenue buys livres of them.

Another livres goes to the sterile class, of which a half, or livres, is consumed for subsistence by this class; the other half, or livres, being taken for foreign commerce, which comes under this same class. Finally, livres are consumed in the productive class, by the men who produce them, and livres for feeding and care of the cattle.

Tableau économique | work by Quesnay |

Thus of the livres of product this class expends livres, and its advances of livres are returned to it in money through the sales which it makes to the Proprietor and to the sterile class.

An eighth of the total product enters into foreign commerce, either as exports or for raw materials and subsistence for the workers of the country who sell their products franclis the other Nations.

The sales of the Merchant balance the purchases of merchandise and of gold and silver which are obtained from abroad. Such is the distributive order of the economiqeu of the native products among the different classes of citizens, and such is the idea we should have of the practice and the extent of the foreign commerce of a flourishing agricultural Nation.

The reciprocal traffic of one class with the other distributes the revenue of livres from one side to the other; giving livres to each side, over and above the advances which are conserved.

The Proprietor subsists by means of the livres which he spends. The livres distributed to each class, added to the product of the taxes, the tithe, etc. On this basis, millions of revenue can furnish subsistence to three million families of four persons of all ages each. The expenses furnished by the annual advances of the productive class, which also are renewed each year, and of which about a half is spent on food for the cattle and the other half in paying wages to the men engaged in the work of this class, add millions of expenditures which can, with the part of the other products which are added to them, furnish subsistence for another million heads of families.

Thus these millions, which, not counting taxes, tithes, and the interest on the annual advances and on the original advances of frncois Husbandman, would be renewed annually from the landed property, could furnish subsistence to sixteen million persons of all ages, according to this order of circulation and distribution of the annual revenues.

By circulation we mean here the purchases at first hand, paid for out of the revenue which is distributed among all the classes of men, excepting commerce, which multiplies purchases and sales without multiplying things, and which is only an increase of sterile expenditures. The riches of the productive class of a Nation where the Proprietors of the land have constantly millions of revenue may be evaluated as follows.

A revenue of millions for the Proprietors assumes in addition tablsau in taxes, and millions for qkesnay tithe of the annual product, including all the charges, levied on those subject to the tithe: This makes a total of 1 billion 50 millions, including the revenue: In addition there are the reproduction of 1 billion 50 millions of annual advances, etc and millions of interest on these advances at 10 per In a kingdom having many vineyards, forests, meadows, etc.


This part would require, in a good State of large-scale cultivation carried on by horses, the employment of three hundred econoomique thousand three hundred thirty-four plows at no acres of land per plow, three hundred thirty-three thousand three hundred thirty-four men to direct them, and 40 million acres of land.

This culture may, with 5 or 6 billions of advances, be extended in France to more than 60 million acres.

We are not speaking here of small-scale cultivation carried on with oxen, in which more than a million plows would be needed, and about 2, men to exploit 40 million acres of land, which would yield only two-fifths as much as large-scale cultivation does.

This small-scale cultivation to which the Cultivators are reduced, from lack of riches to make the original advancesis carried on at the expense of the landed property itself, employed to a great extent for the expenses, and by excessive annual expenditures for the subsistence of the multitude of men occupied in this form of cultivation, which absorb almost all the product.

This ungrateful cultivation, which reveals the poverty and the ruin of the Nations where it prevails, has nothing to do with the order of the Table, which is arranged on the basis of half of the employment of a plow, where the annual advances can, in conjunction with the fund of original advances, produce one hundred per cent.

See the articles Farms, Farmers, Grains, in the Encyclopedie. The interest on these advances should amount to at least 10 perfor the products of agriculture are exposed to ruinous accidents, which in ten years destroy the value of at least one year’s crop.

These advances demand, moreover, much up-keep and renewals; hence the total of interest on the original advances for establishing the Husbandmen is, livres. The meadows, vineyards, ponds, forests, etc. The value of these advances may be reduced, including the original expenses for plantings and other work done at the expense of the Proprietors, to 1,, livres.

But vineyards and gardens require large annual advances, which, taken in connection with those of the other parts, may on the average be included in the total of annual advances set forth above. The total annual reproduction in net product, in annual advances with the interest thereon, and’ in interest on the original advances, reckoned in conformity with the order of the table, is 2,, livres.

Of this sum of 2,, livres, millions constitute half of the reproduction of the annual advances employed in feeding the cattle: On this footing a State is rich, and men live comfortably there. We’ are speaking of an opulent Nation which possesses a territory and advances which yield annually, and without wasting away, 1 billion 50 millions of net product; but all these riches kept up successively by this annual product may be destroyed or lose their value, in the decadence of an agricultural Nation, by the mere wasting away of the productive advances, which may make great headway in a short time as a result of eight principal causes:.

A bad system of taxation, encroaching upon the advances of the Cultivators. Noli me tangere is the motto of these advances.