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physiocracy a school of thought or set of economic ideas based on the writings of QUESNAY and other 18th-century French economists and philosophers. The physiocrats felt that land was the single source of income and wealth in society capable of producing a ‘net product’. They also believed in the idea of a ‘natural order’ in society, which harmonized the particular interests of individual citizens with the common interests of society. This made them strong proponents of individual liberty and strong opponents of government intervention in society, other than to protect the individual and his property rights. Adam SMITH was strongly influenced by physiocratic ideas, and in his hands the ‘natural order’ was spelled out in the form of the workings of the market mechanism. See also PRIVATE-ENTERPRISE ECONOMY.