Entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment

The liberal entrepreneur after the 1929’s crisis Neoliberal and ordoliberal roots

Alcouffe Alain, University of Toulouse

When it comes to explain the nature of the agents involved in production, 19thcentury economists, whether liberal or socialist, are unanimous, above all the workers and the entrepreneur. If workers have a certain knowledge of the work to be done, they must very often carry it out under the orders of the entrepreneur (Garnier, 1873). The latter must thus implement the means to carry out a production, it is the birth certificate of the industrial enterprise. In his Cours Complet d'Economie Politique (1840),Jean Baptiste Say returned to the figure of the entrepreneur. If the entrepreneur must learn the processes of the art he wants to practice, these processes are based on scientific knowledge. The entrepreneur can choose to know only a part of this knowledge, the one he absolutely needs, but he cannot avoid the scientific method, in this case, to know the laws that govern Political Economy: "The science that directs the operations of industry is therefore an essential part of the industrial faculties. Thus, we see little industry in nations where science is neglected "(Say, 1840, p. 44). However, scientific knowledge is not enough. Indeed, the usefulness of things cannot be reduced to the facts and laws that science discovers. Equally important is their application to human needs. Saying that it is a question of "appreciating, not only the physical needs of man, but his moral constitution, i. e. his morals, habits, tastes, the degree of civilization he enjoys, the religion he professes, because all these things influence these needs, and consequently the sacrifices to which he will resolve himself to satisfy them" (Say, 1840, p. 45). It is this art of production application that occupies a class of men that Say calls entrepreneurs industriels. Charles Dunoyer (1845), in his book De la liberté du travail, highlighted the important and necessary qualities of the entrepreneur... There is the most important of all, the genius of business, which is similar to the knowledge


Keywords: ordoliberalism, neolliberalism, 1929's crisis

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