Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective

Costs of man and market in the political economy of François Perroux (1903-1987)

Clave Francis, Paris II

In his time François Perroux (1903-1987) was a leading French economist, sometimes considered as a potential Nobel prizewinner. Even if his political economy does not address the theme of happiness, it is rooted in a rather similar notion, the human costs that the economy is supposed to cover. By this term, he understands the costs necessary for basic expenses but also those intended to have a decent mental and physical life as well as a specifically human life i.e. to enjoy a minimum leisure and knowledge. In this paper, first, the political economy of Perroux is presented, built around the notion of cost of man, of plurality of spaces (space of the firm or of the driving unit, monetary space etc.) structured and therefore not homogenous, and of structure, power and constraints. Secondly, his mode of regulation is compared to that of neoliberals. More generally, his way of linking his concept of market to that of the European Union and to the notion of human costs are analysed.


Keywords: Perroux, market, human costs, power, constraint, structure.

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