Why French President François Hollande Endorsed Say’s Law

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.
[French map in shape of France]

“L’offre crée même la demande. Supply even creates demand.” — J. B. Say

Earlier this month, François Hollande, the president of France who calls himself a “socialist,” endorsed Say’s law, the idea that production is more important than consumption if you want to grow the economy. This supply-side formula originally was propounded by the great French economist, Jean-Baptiste Say, in the early 19th century, and is commonly phrased “Supply creates its own demand.”

On January 14, 2014, President Hollande used Say’s maxim as a guide for the French economy of the future:

“Le temps est venu de régler le principal problème de la France : sa production. Oui, je dis bien sa production. Il nous faut produire plus, il nous faut produire mieux. C’est donc sur l’offre qu’il faut agir. Sur l’offre ! Ce n’est pas contradictoire avec la demande. L’offre crée même la demande.”

Translated, he stated: “The time has come to resolve the main problem of France: its production. Yes, I mean its production. We need to produce more, we must produce better: Supply even creates demand.”

This is quite an admission for a “socialist.” For more than 150 years, the French have ignored J. B. Say (1767-1832), considered the “French Adam Smith” who led the laissez-faire school of economics. He was the man who popularized the word entrepreneur, and invented his famous Say’s law of markets. Alex de Tocqueville, author of “Democracy in America,” learned his economics from Say’s textbook.

Unfortunately, Keynes demonized Say’s law in his General Theory and only recently through the work of Australian economist Steve Kates and my own work has respect for Say been resurrected. Now he’s being quoted by the French president!

According to Say, the key to economic growth is on the supply side: encouraging new technology, productive savings and capital formation — not artificially pumping up consumer spending.

Here’s a delightful four-minute video that explains the significance of Say’s law and why supply-side production, not consumption, drives the economy. It is called “Deck the Halls with Macro Follies.” I showed this video to my students at Chapman University and they loved it.

The new national statistic Gross Output is a better measure than gross domestic product (GDP) to understand why production is more important than consumption. See my Forbes article on this breakthrough. My article so far has more than 13,000 views!

You Blew It! Is Global Warming our Worst Problem?

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact,” — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

Last week in front of students in Indonesia, John Kerry warned that “climate change” (a euphemism for “global warming”) is “the greatest challenge of our generation,” more than disease outbreaks, poverty, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Then he demonized anyone who disagreed with him by calling critics of global warming “shoddy scientists and extreme ideologues.” You could say the same about Al Gore — talk about an “extreme ideologue.”

Kerry’s warning exemplifies the hysteria surrounding global warming and pollution. Students are being brainwashed into thinking the problem is getting worse and worse. Kerry and the extreme environmentalists blame any weather disaster, the cold snow in the Northeast or the drought in the West, to global warming. You can’t argue with these fanatics.
I asked my students at Chapman University, “Has pollution declined or risen in the past 50 years in L.A. County?” Over half thought pollution was worse. The fact is that it has been reduced sharply. See this chart:


Yet the cold hard fact is that the average world temperature has been flat or declining for 17 straight years. If you want to know the facts about global warming and pollution, read this column by Larry Bell at Forbes.com.

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week featuring my global summit in the tax haven of the Bahamas.

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Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

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