What is Meant by Physiocracy?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Physiocracy is an economic theory developed in the 18th century by a group of French Enlightenment economists. According to physiocracy, a country’s prosperity is solely determined by the value of land agriculture or land development and farming products.

Physiocracy Definition and Meaning

Physiocracy evolved into one of the first well-refined economic theories over the centuries. The Tableau Economique, also known as the Economic Table, was developed by Francois Quesnay in 1759. Quesnay first published his work in the field of medicine. However, his interest in the healing power of nature made him shift to economics. He spread the physiocrats’ economic theories as well as the roots of modern ideas about the distribution of wealth in the economy.

The physiocrats coined the term Physiocracy to emphasize fruitful work as a source of national wealth. The study distinguished itself from earlier schools, such as Mercantilism, which focused on the ruler’s assets, gold collection, or trade balance.

Causes of Physiocracy

  • The primary causes introducing Physiocracy were financial, political, and social attributes.
  • The first reason that caused Physiocracy to come to light was a revolt of the French against Mercantilism (Measuring the country’s wealth through export, stores of gold, and precious metals).
  • Under the Finance Minister of France, Colbert, dragged the theory of Mercantilism to a decisive extent.
  • Since he also had a medical background, Quesnay related the circulation of wealth in an economy to the circulation of blood in the body.

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