Birthplace Edinburgh, Scotland.
Posts Held Banker, merchant and statesman.
Offices French Minister Finance., 1720.
Publications Books: 1. Money and Trade Considered (1705, 1966); 2. Oeuvres complétes , ed. P. Harsin, 3 vols (1934).
Career Promoted various schemes for banks, beginning in 1702 with a proposal for a Bank of France. The schemes involved the creation of paper money backed by land holdings, which he argued would stimulate economic activity. In 1716 he was permitted to set up his General Bank in France, and in the following year his company of the West began to sell stock in France's North American possession of Louisiana and Mississippi, His financial influence grew to a peak with his appointment as Minister of Finance in 1720. His belief that shares of stock were identical with money led to mistakes in the management of the speculative `bubble' which followed. Law's system collapsed and he was permanently discridited, his name becoming almost synonymous with cranky monetary panaceas.
Secondary Literature E. J. Hamilton, `Law, John', International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences , D. L. Sills (ed.) (Macmillan and Free Press, 1968), vol. 9.