French Liberal School

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The French Liberal School (also called the "Optimist School" or "Orthodox School") is a 19th-century school of economic thought that was centered on the Collège de France and the Institut de France. The Journal des Économistes was instrumental in promulgating the ideas of the School. Key thinkers include Frédéric Bastiat, Jean-Baptiste Say, Antoine Destutt de Tracy, and Gustave de Molinari.

The School veraciously defended free trade and laissez-faire capitalism. They were primary opponents of collectivist, interventionist and protectionist ideas. This made the French School a forerunner of the modern Austrian School.[1]


  1. Forerunners of the Austrian School: The French Liberal School | Joseph T. Salerno (Lecture 1 of 10), YouTube.

See also