Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

The issue of social productivity in the early works of André L.-A. Vincent

Bénistand Hélène, PHARE, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

André L.-A. Vincent is a self-taught economist whose interest for economics grew during the 1920s. He was very influenced by Charles Gide's Cours d'Economie Politique. In the early 1930s, he took evening classes at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers and attended, in particular, the class of Simiand, who is one of his first influencers. Vincent also published in 1937 Vers l’harmonie économique which, according to François Denord (2001), prolongs the work of Simiand. His training was completed through his readings of the Revue d’économie politique and authors such as Nogaro, Commesnil, Divisia, Dessirier, the Guillaume brothers, Perroux and Coutrot. These influences highlight the complexity of Vincent’s thought and his links with French neoliberalism and engineer economists. This paper aims to study the first works of Vincent in their context, which coincides with the emergence of new ways of thinking the economic role of the State. We look to study his contributions at the light of the intellectual context of the emergence of X-Crise, planning, corporatism and neoliberalism. This engineer from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers presents productivity as an essential economic tool in his works regarding economic management. Jean Fourastié (1945) will take up his proposals on productivity. Vincent’s contribution on productivity as a management tool has only been studied from an economic history perspective (Chick, 2003 Boulat, 2002, 2006, 2009), in the very particular context of the post-war period. By focusing on L’organisation dans l’entreprise et dans la Nation (Vincent, 1941) we aim to show how Vincent turns productivity into a theoretical object and a management tool, which determines both national economic development and evolution of the firm. In 1941, Vincent explains that organizing the firm and the nation are comparable, because they are composed of men. Based on this comparability assumption, he wants to transpose the principles of the scientific organization of work from the firm to the national scale.

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Keywords: social productivity, André L.-A. Vincent, productivity, engineer economist

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