A Key Work in the Origin of the Theory of the Entrepreneur in the Spanish Enlightenment: An Unknown of the Cantillon’s Essai

Documento de Trabajo #2203

Título: A Key Work in the Origin of the Theory of the Entrepreneur in the Spanish Enlightenment: An Unknown Manuscript of the Cantillon’s Essai

Autor/es: Jesús Astigarraga and Juan Zabalza

Abstract:

The Essai sur la nature du commerce en général (1755) by Richard Cantillon is a major treatise on the «science of commerce» that emerged in the 18th century in Europe. Despite not having been translated into Spanish during that century, the treatise was well known in Spain, particularly during the last third of the century. However, the recent finding of a manuscript containing an unabridged translation of Cantillon’s emblematic book obliges us to turn our attention to Cantillon’s Essai’s fortune in Spain. This work provides a comprehensive interpretation of this manuscript and its possible date and authorship. The innovative nature of the translation is underlined by an exhaustive displaying, for the first time in Spain, of the theory of the entrepreneur, of which the Irish economist was a true pioneer.

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