World Economic System: On the Genesis of a Concept

Theotonio dos Santos

Abstract


Political-economy has been generated during national economies and nation-state constitution; the theoretical effort that served as basis for the rise of economics as a science may be written within the boundaries of the analysis of national economies. This was, for example, Quesnays great contribution when establishing the economic-cycle concept by departing from the agricultural production and circulation process and going through the manufacturing and other non-productive activities. He disputed the mercantilist doctrines which saw wealths origin in trade, manufacturing, or gold or silver, according to their English, French or Spanish versions, respectively. The reaction Quesnay represented sought to show that wealth formation depended either on agricultural production, or on productive labourwhat he called primary productionviewing circulation, trade, and the ?nancial sector as unproductive activities, dependent on productive labour.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2000.213

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