Definition of physiocrat in English:



  • A member of an 18th-century group of French economists who believed that agriculture was the source of all wealth and that agricultural products should be highly priced. Advocating adherence to a supposed natural order of social institutions, they also stressed the necessity of free trade.

    • ‘Under the influence of liberal economists, and especially the physiocrat Gournay, author of the phrase laissez-passer, laissez-faire, guild monopolies were increasingly bypassed so as to allow market forces to take their course.’
    • ‘However, the French physiocrats and the British classical economists entirely destroyed the rest of the mercantilist scheme.’
    • ‘The physiocrats placed particular stress upon patterns that emerge from laissez-faire.’
    • ‘The physiocrats' use of the simple phrase classe propriétaire (land-owning class) is indicative, because it enabled them to avoid the question of social rank.’
    • ‘The principles of laissez-faire and the ideas of the physiocrats were invoked even in the Papal States, where the customs system and the urban provisioning regulations were reformed in the same years.’
    • ‘Smith's view of taxes on land has been the general view among economists since then, and in fact one can trace Smith's argument to the French physiocrats who preceded him.’
    • ‘Smith shared the objection of the French physiocrats to the mercantile system, but he did not share their view that land is the sole source of wealth.’
    • ‘Like the French physiocrats, the enlighteners argued for a return to agriculture, based, however, more on their romanticization of the Bible than on solid economic theory.’
    • ‘The precursors of classical political economy were, of course, the physiocrats, who articulated a concept of social class on the basis of a series of theoretical deductions.’
    • ‘Unfortunately the BNF's Gallica site, which has some of the physiocrats' works in its index, doesn't provide the option of sorting its results by date.’
    • ‘One of Atkinson's final arguments is that the single tax was tried in France before the French Revolution, under the physiocrats, led by Turgot, and proved a miserable failure.’
    • ‘It can be traced in the theories of public finance to the work of the 18th century French physiocrats.’


Late 18th century: from French physiocrate, from physiocratie ‘physiocracy’ (see physio-, -cracy).