Who coined the term "entrepreneur"?

By Andrew Beattie AAA
A:

For one, it wasn't Adam Smith. One person strangely overlooked in Smith's free market masterpiece, The Wealth of Nations, is the entrepreneur. This is because the term was actually coined by an admirer of Adam Smith's book. Entrepreneur is a French word coined by the economist Jean-Baptiste Say, and usually is translated as, "adventurer". Say studied Smith's book and, while agreeing on all points, found that the omission of enterprising businessmen was a serious flaw.

Say pointed out in his own writings that it was entrepreneurs who sought out inefficient uses of resources and capital and moved them into more productive, higher yield areas. Simply put, entrepreneurs seek opportunities for profit and, by doing so, create new markets and fresh opportunities. By constantly disrupting the balance of competition, entrepreneurs prevent monopolies from forming and create a wide diversity of products that keep consumers consuming and producers producing. In return for taking these risks, successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Henry Ford reap fortunes far beyond those of normal agents in the economy.

Say put the focus on entrepreneurs because he was one. As a cotton manufacturer, he saw how an entrepreneur must be able to recognize opportunities and manage them effectively. Say's A Treatise on Political Economy, or the Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Wealth and his entrepreneur as an agent of change captured the imagination of many people. Thomas Jefferson read the English translation and tried to convince Say to teach in his new nation. Although Say never stepped foot on U.S. soil, his entrepreneurial outlook found a home in America, anyway. Combining Adam Smith's free market principles and Say's entrepreneurial call to arms, the U.S. went wholeheartedly into the industrial revolution and emerged with one of the strongest economies in the world.

To learn more about free markets and entrepreneurship, be sure to read our Economics Basics Tutorial.

This question was answered by Andrew Beattie.

RELATED FAQS

  1. What are examples of cost of goods sold (COGS) for businesses that sell through eBay ...

    Read how online retailers that operate through eBay or Etsy can list certain expenses as cost of goods sold and even claim ...
  2. How is an SBO-401(k) set up?

    Learn what a Small Business Owner 401(k) plan is and who is eligible to establish one. Find out what the IRS requires of ...
  3. Can I invest my IRA in an entity, business or LLC?

    Explore different types of businesses, entities, corporations and limited liability companies, and the types IRA-eligible ...
  4. Can I obtain a Simple IRA if I am self-employed?

    Investing for retirement when self-employed can be in a SIMPLE IRA, a SEP IRA or a 401(k) plan, depending on the scenario ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Provisional Patent Application

    A short-term means of protecting an invention that requires less ...
  2. Cottage Industry

    A small-scale industry often operated out of a home, rather than ...
  3. Peter Pan Syndrome

    A regulatory environment in which firms prefer to stay small ...
  4. Franchise disclosure document

    A Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is a legal document presented ...
  5. Michael Bloomberg

    Michael Bloomberg is one of the wealthiest persons in the world ...
  6. Mark Zuckerberg

    Self-taught computer programmer and self-made multi-billionaire ...

You May Also Like

Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    The Best (And Worst) Countries To Be ...

  2. Investing News

    Looking to Open a Franchise? These Topped ...

  3. Not every new company or product makes it, but many successful startups share the following characteristics.
    Entrepreneurship

    6 Characteristics Of Successful Apps

  4. When it comes to managing finances and tracking the markets on the go, there are a number of excellent apps that can be downloaded and installed onto your mobile device.
    Entrepreneurship

    Top Stock Market Apps For News Or Trading ...

  5. A brief overview of the top apps that help forex traders with on time information, charts and more.
    Entrepreneurship

    Top Forex Trading Apps

Trading Center