Jean-Baptiste Say and Entrepreneurial Expertise for Industrialization

By José Manuel Menudo

In Jean-Baptiste Say’s analysis, the existence of a production fund of industrial faculties generates entrepreneurs, workers, and scholars. However, success only ensues from the exercise of entrepreneurial expertise. This article analyzes the different lists of abilities published by Say. Our first result underlines the fact that these abilities go beyond the scope of the business and are concerned with the development of nations. Within the enterprise, there is a clear distinction between management (linked to abilities of reasoning), and qualities of control and supervision. As a result, entrepreneurial functions relative to uncertainty, innovation, or efficiency are linked to success but are not a condition for productive activity. We conclude that Say does not share the idea of spontaneous economic convergence between nations. A policy of economic development based on industrial education and the strengthening of entrepreneurial abilities is necessary. JEL Codes : A11, B12, L126, O1, I125


  • J.-B. Say
  • history of economic thought : classical
  • entrepreneurship
  • economic development
  • education and development
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