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Anne Robert Jaques Turgot and His Relevance to the French Revolution
Anne Robert Jaques Turgot, baron l' Aulne, was born in Paris on May 10, 1727 to a noble French family of Normandy. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, who had furnished the state with numerous public officials, Turgot would achieve public renown as Intendent of Limoges and later as Controller General of all France. Although Turgot ended his public career in unfortunate circumstances, being dismissed by Louis XVI for ineffectiveness, his political theories became a major influence in the remaining years of the Old Regime. The depth of Turgot's economic thought was not recognized at the time because it largely went against what the ruling aristocracy wanted to hear. His clairvoyance is much more fully noted in light of the last two centuries. Furthermore, Turgot was one of the King's last controller-generals before the French Revolution ended the monarchy. When his political and economic ideals are considered against this backdrop their importance as well as their contradictory nature become apparent.
Turgot's main contribution to economic theory is his Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Riches. Apart from this short but highly systematic account of the nature of economic development, Turgot's other relevant writings are sparse and far from cohesive. Since this paper will consider his economics with regard to his political thought, only Turgot's theories on the nature of government influence, free trade, and taxes will be examined. Furthermore, an explanation of Turgot's theory on administration will be provided. In gaining an understanding of Turgot's political and economic thought a powerful example of the problems that manifested themselves in the revolution is provided. Turgot was the model of an enlightened, reform-minded administrator and this may be glimpsed in the liberality of his economic ideas. However, while he certainly advised reforms in administration, they were simply intended so that the King could more effectively centralize political power.
Laissez-Faire and Free Trade:
As a young man Turgot was very close to Claude Marie Vincent, the Marquis de Gournay. Vincent was not only a friend but also Turgot's mentor in economics and administration. It is in tribute to Vincent that after his death Turgot developed his ideas on laissez-faire government in a paper called, the "Elegy to Gournay" (1759). Within this paper Turgot condemns the foolishness of mercantilist regulation of industry while expounding the benefits of free domestic and foreign trade following from the presence of free exchange.
In a detailed analysis of the market process, Turgot writes that self-interest is the prime mover in the market process and that in a free market the individual interest must always coincide with the general interest. It can be assumed that the buyer will purchase from the seller who will give him the lowest price for the most suitable product. Furthermore, sellers will naturally sell their best merchandise at the highest competitive price. Conversely, Turgot says that when governmental restrictions are present, consumers are compelled to buy inferior goods at higher prices. Only by free exchange can sellers be assured the profit needed to match production while at the same time providing the consumer with the best goods at the lowest prices. Governments are present not to interfere with the market but to protect citizens from injustice and to ensure national security against foreign menace.
Turgot did allow that it was possible for the consumer to get cheated by a fraudulent seller. However, Turgot says that common sense will provide the remedy because it is logical that the cheated consumer will learn from his experience and respond by not returning to the dishonest merchant. Word will spread of the sellers fraudulence and he will fall into discredit and be weeded out of the market. The market has thus solved its own problem through the logical sequence of rational consumers protecting their individual interests. On the other hand to think that government would be able to prevent such malpractice through regulation is foolish. It would certainly not be able to handle every instance of fraud and as it is compelled to regulate more and more the progress of industry would suffer.
Turgot also touched on the subject of taxation by calling for a single tax on the ... more
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Pedagogy V Andragogy
Consider the differences between the way in which children and adults learn
In this assignment, I intend to consider the possible differences between the way in which children and adults learn. For instance, Piaget believed there to be schemes with four distinct stages of cognitive development. Between birth and the time a child is ready for school, he/she will pass through two of the four stages. These stages are the Sensorimotor Stage and the Preoperational Stage. Alternatively, it could be argued that our parents, teachers, and society as a whole condition us, to learn in a particular way, to take our place in society. This, then in the words of Freire is:
the banking concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the student extends only as far as receiving, filing and storing the deposits. (Freire, 1970)
On the other hand, it is suggested, that adults learn from experience and reflection, therefore, it is the way in which people:
understand, or experience, or conceptualise the world around them. (Ramsden, 1992)
The focus for them then, is gaining knowledge or ability through the use of experience.
These are two extremes of the spectrum of learning and there are, according to theorists such as Piaget, several stages in-between, these are: sensory-motor, pre-operational, concrete-operational and formal-operational. I intend to look at these stages in detail in the main body of this assignment. Firstly, I intend to consider the meaning of learning and briefly look at the terms pedagogy and andragogy.
What is learning? Learning is a process by which we change our behaviour and understanding. We learn in many ways. For instance, the cognitive orientation to learning, this could be said to be how children learn, (see child learning section). Secondly, there is the humanistic orientation to learning, this could be said to be a personal act to fulfil potential, through experience and reflection. Finally, we have the social/situational orientation to learning; this refers to the way we are pre-conditioned by society.
Child learning: Pedagogy
Firstly, we will look at the term pedagogy, pedagogy means the art and science of educating children and often is used as another word for teaching. More correctly, pedagogy embraces teacher-focused education. In the pedagogic model, teachers assume responsibility for making decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, and when it will be learned. Therefore, teachers direct the learning. This then, according to Friere (70) is the banking method of education. This term will be considered in greater depth later in this assignment.
Piaget believed schemes apply the basis for future learning, the earliest schemes setting the stage for constructing new and more sophisticated schemes. Even in a newborn baby, we can find the simplest of schemes. For example, infants can suck from a bottle, but they quickly apply this to dummies and thumbs. Later in life, schemes move from a physical sensory-motor focus to more mental aspects. Toddlers can imagine blocks for stacking and put them to different uses, and eventually learn number schemes, which allow them to further organise their world in new ways.
Schemes develop in this way:
Action applied to objects Primarily sensory and motor systemsMental processes for organising action Objects, numbers and spatial relationsMental processes for organising self-concept and awareness. IdentityOrganisation of the abstract Meanings of abstract laws and notions, such as physics, life and origins.
Piaget believed there are four distinct stages of cognitive development. For a complete explanation of these stages, see the table on Piagets stages of cognitive development.
Stage Age Characteristics
Sensorimotor 0-2 Years Your child will begin to make use of her ability to imitate, to think, and to memorise. She will begin to realise that objects don't cease to exist when they are out-of-sight. Her actions will become more goal-oriented, rather than motivated through reflexes.
Preoperational 2-7 Years Your childs language skills will begin to develop. She will be able to think in symbolic forms. Your child will be able to think mental operations through in one direction. Your child will have difficulty seeing another persons point of view.
Concrete Operational 7-11 Years Your child will be able to solve concrete, hands-on problems in logical fashion. She will be able to understand laws of ... more
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