Jean-Baptiste Colbert

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Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert (29 August 1619 – 6 September 1683) was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. His relentless hard work and thrift made him an esteemed minister. He achieved a reputation for his work of improving the state of French manufacturing and bringing the economy back from the brink of bankruptcy.


  • It is simply, and solely, the abundance of money within a state [which] makes the difference in its grandeur and power.
    • Arthur John Sargent (1899), The Economic Policy of Colbert. p. 65
  • Que faut-il faire pour vous aider?
    Laissez-nous faire!
    • What should be done to help you? Let us be!
    • Alleged conversation between French Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert and a merchant named Legendre (1680), quoted in, among others, "The End of Laissez-Faire" (1926) by John Maynard Keynes

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