Economist turned entrepreneur Say was uncertain about his future in 1814 when he was commissioned by the French government to document British industrial progress at a critical point of the industrial takeoff. This trip offered the opportunity to observe the economic life of a different country and to deepen his knowledge of the economic consequences of parliamentarism or the Corn Laws. He also developed a specific understanding of the changes occurring in Britain stressing economies of scale, the role of coal for steam, and the horrific situation of the working class. As key causes, he identified British naval domination of the seas and, more surprisingly, the general distortion induced by very heavy taxation. Through his travel, Say also imported new views about education that he disseminated in France before turning himself to the teaching of economics, starting, at forty-eight years of age, an academic career.

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