Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune

Turgot, Baron de Laune

French Economist and Statesman

Author Quotes

Respect is tendered with pleasure only where it is not exacted.

Scrupulous people are not suited to great affairs.

The earth has been cultivated before it has been divided; the cultivation itself having been the only motive for a division, and for that law which secures to everyone his property. For the first persons who have employed themselves in cultivation, have probably worked as much land as their strength would permit, and, consequently, more than was necessary for their own nourishment.

The expenses of government, having for their object the interest of all, should be borne by everyone, and the more a man enjoys the advantages of society, the more he ought to hold himself honored in contributing to those expenses.

The fate of America is already decided. Behold her independent beyond recovery. But will She be free and happy?

All is more or less proper to serve as a common measure in proportion as it is more or less in general use, of a more similar quality, and more easy to be divided into aliquot parts. All is more or less applicable for the purpose of a general pledge of exchange, in proportion as it is less susceptible of decay or alteration in quantity or quality.

The productions of the earth require long and difficult preparations, before they are rendered fit to supply the wants of men. The productions which the earth supplies to satisfy the different wants of man, will not, for the most part, administer to those wants, in the state nature affords them; it is necessary they should undergo different operations, and be prepared by art. Wheat must be converted into flour, then into bread; hides must be dressed or tanned; wool and cotton must be spun; silk must be taken from the cod; hemp and flax must be soaked, peeled, spun, and wove into different textures; then cut and sewed together again to make garments, &c. If the same man who cultivates on his own land these different articles, and who raises them to supply his wants, was obliged to perform all the intermediate operations himself, it is certain he would succeed very badly.

All merchandise has the two essential properties of money, to measure and to represent all value: and in this sense all merchandize is money.

The whole mass of humanity ... marches constantly, though slowly, toward greater perfection.

All money is essentially merchandise.

What I admire in Columbus is not his having discovered a world but his having gone to search for it on the faith of an opinion.

Every soil does not produce every material.

Everywhere the strong have made the laws and oppressed the weak; and, if they have sometimes consulted the interests of society, they have always forgotten those of humanity.

Gold and silver are constituted, by the nature of things, money, and universal money, independent of all convention, and of all laws.

He seized the lightning from Heaven and the scepter from the Tyrants.

If the land was divided among all the inhabitants of a country, so that each of them possessed precisely the quantity necessary for his support, and nothing more; it is evident that all of them being equal, no one would work for another. Neither would any of them possess wherewith to pay another for his labor, for each person having only such a quantity of land as was necessary to produce a subsistence, would consume all he should gather, and would not have anything to give in exchange for the labor of others.

It is not error which opposes the progress of truth; it is indolence, obstinacy, the spirit of routine, everything which favors inaction.

Morality in the general is well enough known by men, but the particular refinements of virtue are unknown by most persons; thus the majority of parents, without knowing it and without intending it, give very bad examples to their children.

Not only there does not exist, nor can exist, any other revenue than the clear produce of land, but it is the earth also that has furnished all capitals, that form the mass of all the advances of culture and commerce. It has produced, without culture, the first gross and indispensable advances of the first laborers; all the rest are the accumulated fruits of the economy of successive ages, since they have begun to cultivate the earth. This economy has effect not only on the revenues of proprietors, but also on the profits of all the members of laborious classes. It is even generally true, that, though the proprietors have more overplus, they spare less; for, having more treasure, they have more desires, and more passions; they think themselves better ensured of their fortune; and are more desirous of enjoying it contentedly, than to augment it; luxury is their pursuit. The stipendiary class, and he chiefly the undertakers of the other classes, receiving profits proportionate to their advances, talents, and activity, have, though they are not possessed of a revenue properly so called, a superfluity beyond their subsistence; but, absorbed as they generally are, only in their enterprises, and anxious to increase their fortune; restrained by their labor from amusements and expensive passions; they save their whole superfluity, to re-convert it in other enterprises, and augment it.

What I admire in Columbus is not having discovered a world, but his having gone to search for it on the faith of an opinion.

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Turgot, Baron de Laune
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French Economist and Statesman