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Jean-Baptiste Say


Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) was a French economist and businessman, best known for his concept of Say’s Law. Say’s Law, also known as the law of markets, states that the supply of goods and services creates their own demand, implying that production is the source of wealth rather than consumption. Say is considered to be one of the pioneers of classical liberal economic thinking and his work laid the foundation for modern supply-side economics.


The phonetics of the keyword ‘Jean-Baptiste Say’ can be represented as:ʒɑ̃ ba.tist sɛHere’s the breakdown of the phonetic symbols:- ʒ (voiced postalveolar fricative) as in “pleasure”- ɑ̃ (nasal open front unrounded vowel) as in French “an”- b (voiced bilabial stop) as in “big”- a (open front unrounded vowel) as in “cat”- . (syllable break)- t (voiceless alveolar stop) as in “top”- i (near-close near-front unrounded vowel) as in “bit”- s (voiceless alveolar fricative) as in “sip”- t (voiceless alveolar stop) as in “top”- ɛ (open-mid front unrounded vowel) as in “bet”Please note that this phonetic representation is based on the French pronunciation.

Key Takeaways

  1. Jean-Baptiste Say was a French economist and businessman who became famous for developing Say’s Law, which asserts that supply creates its own demand.
  2. He was a proponent of laissez-faire economics and contributed to the development of classical economic theory by emphasizing the importance of production and entrepreneurship.
  3. Say was an influential figure in the early 19th century and his works, such as “A Treatise on Political Economy,” are considered key foundational texts in the field of economics.


Jean-Baptiste Say, a prominent French economist, is important in the world of business and finance due to his foundational contributions to economic theories and his development of Say’s Law. His law, also known as the Law of Markets, posits that supply creates its own demand, thereby emphasizing the importance of production in driving economic growth. According to Say’s Law, the act of producing goods and services generates the income required to purchase other goods or services, ensuring the overall balance of supply and demand. This principle has had significant influence on the field of classical and neoclassical economics, often shaping fiscal and monetary policies of various governments. Say’s insights on free markets, entrepreneurship, and the relationship between production and consumption continue to influence modern economic thought and practices.


Jean-Baptiste Say, a distinguished French economist of the classical period, is well-known for proposing Say’s Law, which posited that supply creates its own demand; this has significant implications on the scope of economics and public policy. This principle is based on the understanding that production generates income equal to the value of the goods produced. This income is then used to demand the very products that have been supplied, thus effectively highlighting the interdependence of markets within the economy and endorsing the laissez-faire notions of self-regulation in the marketplace. Say’s work emphasized that the vitality of an economy lies in its ability to produce goods and services, which subsequently propagate demand and foster growth. The purpose of Say’s Law reinforces the importance of production and entrepreneurship in driving economic expansion. The practical application of this concept means that business leaders should prioritize productivity and supply-side measures, focusing on eliminating barriers to growth, such as excessive taxation and regulation. Say’s Law contradicts the Keynesian school of thought, which places emphasis on the demand side, particularly through government spending and intervention, in times of economic stagnation. However, in the contemporary context of economic policy-making, it is widely accepted that a balanced approach to both supply and demand-side measures can be useful in promoting economic growth. Despite ongoing debates within academic circles and policy arenas, Jean-Baptiste Say’s revolutionary insight continues to inform thinking in the fields of economics and business today.


Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) was a renowned French economist who developed the crucial concept of ‘Say’s Law’ in the business and finance realm. The principle asserts that supply creates its own demand, implying that in order to create demand for a product, one must first create the objects and services connected to it. Here are three real-world examples demonstrating Say’s Law in action: 1. Apple Inc.: When Apple released the iPhone in 2007, it created a new market for smartphones that replaced traditional mobile phones and PDAs. The introduction of this innovative product also sparked demand for app developers, accessory manufacturers, and added technological infrastructure to support the new product. In this instance, Say’s Law is evident as the supply of iPhones generated demand for related goods and services. 2. Solar Energy Industry: The increasing production of solar panels has made renewable energy more accessible and cost-efficient for both commercial and residential users. As more solar panels are manufactured, an increased demand for supporting goods, services, and infrastructure (e.g., solar panel installers, energy storage solutions, smart grid technologies) has also arisen. This example showcases Say’s Law in action, as the increased supply of solar energy products creates opportunities for associated businesses. 3. Electric Vehicle (EV) Market: With the expanding production of electric vehicles by companies like Tesla, Nissan, and Chevrolet, a market for charging infrastructure and related services has emerged. The development of charging stations, battery production, and other support systems are critical to meeting the evolving demands spurred by EV production. This growth in the electric vehicle sector highlights Say’s Law, where the supply of a new product (electric vehicles) generates demand across the ecosystem, fostering growth in related industries and services.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Who is Jean-Baptiste Say?
Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) was a French economist and businessman who is best known for his contributions to classical economics, particularly his law of markets, also known as Say’s Law.
What is Say’s Law?
Say’s Law, or the Law of Markets, is an economic principle that states that the production of goods or services creates its own demand. According to Say, in a free market, the act of producing goods generates the income necessary for consumers to purchase those goods. This principle implies that there will never be an oversupply or a general shortage of demand in an economy.
What was the context in which Say developed his ideas?
Say developed his economic ideas during the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, a period of rapid economic growth and change. At the time, classical economists were grappling with issues such as the limits of growth, market dynamics, and the role of government in economic affairs.
What are the key insights of Say’s theories and works?
Some key concepts from Say’s work include the utility theory of value, the role of entrepreneurship in bringing together the factors of production, and the need for governments to adopt laissez-faire policies to promote economic growth.
What is the utility theory of value?
The utility theory of value suggests that the value of goods and services is determined by the level of satisfaction or usefulness they provide to the consumer, rather than by their cost of production. This idea helps to explain why different consumers may place different values on the same good or service.
How did Say view the role of entrepreneurs in the economy?
Say saw entrepreneurs as key drivers of economic growth. He believed that entrepreneurs were responsible for organizing the factors of production – land, labor, and capital – and combining them in the most efficient way to produce goods and services. In Say’s view, entrepreneurial activity was essential for creating wealth and driving economic expansion.
What is laissez-faire economics, and what role does it play in Say’s ideas?
Laissez-faire is an economic philosophy that advocates for minimal government intervention in markets and maximum individual freedom. Say strongly believed that governments should adopt laissez-faire policies to promote economic growth, arguing that market forces, rather than government regulation, were the best way to ensure the efficient allocation of resources and the fulfillment of consumer needs.
Why is Jean-Baptiste Say important in the history of economics?
Jean-Baptiste Say is considered a foundational figure in classical economics and one of the early proponents of laissez-faire economic policy. His works, particularly his law of markets, have shaped economic theory and policy decisions throughout the years. While some aspects of his ideas have been criticized or amended, Say’s contributions continue to be influential in contemporary economic discussions.

Related Finance Terms

    • Say’s Law
    • Classical Economics
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Supply-side Economics
    • Production vs. Consumption

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