Look to the late Middle Ages in Europe, 13th to15th C.
It was a very different world.
Each of us would most likely be engaged in agriculture,
probably as a peasant, subject to the lord of the manor.
We would live in a village and grow our
*Bills of exchange; money undergirded by trust [ie.
Deposit in paris, withdraw in Amsterdam]
The ideology (ism) of merchants, 16th to early 18th C
Hundreds of pamphlets or short books were issued.
In France, the Finance Mini
David Hume, Of Commerce
Few persons are able to transcend shallow thinking and arrive at principles of depth
and fineness (3).
In practical affairs regarding economics, best not to engage too long a chain of
The philosopher seeks univers
Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws (Esprit des Lois)
a) Life and Times
Autocratic rule by divine right of kings
Louis 14th (1643-1715)
Louis 15th (1715-1774)
Louis 16th (1774-1792) Louis Capet after Revolution 1789
Baron de Montesqu
Ancien Rgime of the 17th and 18th centuries
Autocratic rule of Henry 4th, Louis 14th, 15th, 16th
French Revolution 1789 brought the execution of the
king and much of the aristocratic class; a triumph for
the middle class
Developed markets for factors of production
Karl Marx: material forces; ie. gradual surplus allowed merchant class (bourgeoisie) to become politically
dominant over the feudal aristocracy
David Hume, Political Discourses
1. Of Money
Absolute quantity of money is of no consequence; money is just
the lubricant that oils the wheels of trade.
It is of no manner of consequence, with regard to the domestic
happiness of a state, whether money be
Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests (Part II)
How Economic Expansion was Expected to Improve the
Key Theme: Montesquieu-Steuart Doctrine
a) Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu,
The Spirit of the Laws (1748)
The spirit of
Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests III
Where the Montesquieu-Steuart Vision Went Wrong
After the Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815), the nineteenth
century was relatively peaceful, at least in Europe.
But the twentieth century was a bloodbath. [
Hirshman Justifying Capitalism
Central question - How did comml, banking, and similar money-making pursuits become
honorable at some point in the modern age after having stood condemned or despised as greed, love of
lucre, and avarice for centuries?