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Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment

Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In a brilliant recreation of the epoch between the 1770s and the 1820s, Emma Rothschild reinterprets the ideas of the great revolutionary political economists to show us the true landscape of economic and political thought in their day, with important consequences for our own. Her work alters the readings of Adam Smith and Condorcet — and of ideas of Enlightenment — that underlie much contemporary political thought. Economic Sentiments takes up late-eighteenth-century disputes over the political economy of an enlightened, commercial society to show us how the "political" and the "economic" were intricately related to each other and to philosophical reflection. Rothschild examines theories of economic and political sentiments, and the reflection of these theories in the politics of enlightenment. A landmark in the history of economics and of political ideas, her book shows us the origins of laissez-faire economic thought and its relation to political conservatism in an unquiet world. In doing so, it casts a new light on our own times.

Review:

"Emma Rothschild believes that commercial life today and our attitudes toward it?particularly our openness and our enthusiasm and our sense of boundless possibility ? correspond in crucial ways to the situation that was confronted by Adam Smith at the dawn of the era of liberal capitalism. This makes the moment ripe, she suggests, for a reconsideration of the achievement of the great eighteenth-century Scottish thinker; and this is the task to which she devotes the bulk of her interesting and learned book on the original understanding of laissez-faire, or free market, economics." Peter Berkowitz, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Review:

"A powerful and original reconsideration of the thinking of Smith and Condorcet. Delightfully fresh, sensitive, sensible and wide-ranging. A wonderfully evocative, even lyrical book. This is a scholarly achievement of a very high order. It will be of substantial interest to specialists in a range of fields within the humanities and social sciences, who will be obliged in reading it to think again about many conventional views within their disciplines. But it should also reach a broader audience among all those concerned with how we should think about economics and politics in a new century full of uncertainties and insecurities." Keith Baker, Stanford University

Review:

This landmark work revisits the intellectual ferment of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries...[Rothschild] dismantles, with quiet authority, the stereotype of the Enlightenment as a period dominated by chilly rationalists. The New Yorker

Review:

"We have all read Adam Smith and we all think we know him well. But this text, in its emphasis on the period after 1776 and its coverage of related works from other nations, is full of revelations and delicious quotes from unstudied sources." David S. Landes, author of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

Review:

Rothschild's richly complex and deeply informed account of the writings of Adam Smith and of the Marquis du Condorcet locates them more closely in their own time and, by so doing, changes their significance for us today. The monolithic view of the cold, inhuman Enlightenment, propagated by the early nineteenth-century Romantics, is undercut by close analysis and understanding of the political and social contexts. The book is a triumph of scholarship and reinterpretation, as well as a model of expository prose. Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanford University

Review:

"In her readable as well as scholarly book, Economic Sentiments, [Rothschild] links [Adam] Smith with the French philosopher the Marquis de Condorcet, another thinker seen today as an emblem of "cold hard and rational enlightenment" but in reality interested, like Smith, "in economic life as a process of discussion, and as a process of emancipation," in which "one's freedom to buy or sell or lend or travel or work is difficult to distinguish from the rest of one's freedom." This larger picture, Rothschild thinks, is what was lost as economics developed along with the society it analyzed, and what she hopes to restore." Paul Mattick, New York Times Book Review

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-342) and index.

About the Author

Emma Rothschild is a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Director of the Center for History and Economics, King's College.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Economic Dispositions

The History of Sentiments

Civilized and Commercial Society

The Unfrightened Mind

Two Kinds of Enlightenment

The Devil Himself

Heroic Dispositions

A Sort of Inner Shuddering

The Cold Light of Reason and the Warmth of Economic Life

Seeing the State as in a Picture

Indulgence and Indifference

The Light of History

The Enlightenment and the Present

2. Adam Smith and Conservative Economics

This Famous Philosopher

Scotland in the 1790s

Economic and Political Freedom

The Liberal Reward of Labor

One-Sided Rationalistic Liberalism

Smith's Real Sentiments

3. Commerce and the State

A Reciprocal Dependence

Scarcities, Dearths, and Famines

Poverty and General Equilibrium

Turgot's Policies against Famine

Interpretations of Smith and Turgot

The Lapse of Time

4. Apprenticeship and Insecurity

A Strange Adventure

It Is But Equity, Besides

Corporations and Competition

Education and Apprenticeship

A State of Nonage

The Apprenticeship: A Digression on the Slave Trade

Uncertain Jurisprudence

History and Institutions

5. The Bloody and Invisible Hand

The Invisible Hand of Jupiter

Tremble, Unfortunate King!

Intentions and Interests

Political Influence

Clerical Systems

Smith's "Stoicism"

Order and Design

A Persuasive Device

Explanation and Understanding

Greatest Possible Values

Evolved Orders

Two Shortcomings of Liberal Thought

6. Economic and Political Choice

Raton Was Quite Astonished...

General Economic Interdependence

Giving the Impression of Doing Nothing

The Soul Discouraged

Poverty, Taxes, and Unsalubrious Factories

Formal Methods

Social Choice and Economic Procedures

Discussions and Constitutions

Pelion and Ossa

7. Condorcet and the Conflict of Values

Cold, Descriptive Cartesian Reason

Diversity and Uniformity

The Indissoluble Chain

Civilized Conflict

Inconsistent Universalism

Domestic Virtues

The Imaginary Enlightenment

The Liberty of Thought and Discussion

8. A Fatherless World

A Different Enlightenment

Smith and Condorcet

Uncertainty and Irresolution

A System of Sentiments

Civilized Political Discussion

Economic Sentiments

A World Unrestored

Suitable Equality

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674008373
Author:
Rothschild, Emma
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
General
Subject:
Economics - Theory
Subject:
Economic History
Subject:
Economics - General
Subject:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy
Subject:
HISTORY / Europe/General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
April 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
none
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 20 oz

Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Humanities » Philosophy » Surveys

Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment
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Product details 368 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674008373 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Emma Rothschild believes that commercial life today and our attitudes toward it?particularly our openness and our enthusiasm and our sense of boundless possibility ? correspond in crucial ways to the situation that was confronted by Adam Smith at the dawn of the era of liberal capitalism. This makes the moment ripe, she suggests, for a reconsideration of the achievement of the great eighteenth-century Scottish thinker; and this is the task to which she devotes the bulk of her interesting and learned book on the original understanding of laissez-faire, or free market, economics." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "A powerful and original reconsideration of the thinking of Smith and Condorcet. Delightfully fresh, sensitive, sensible and wide-ranging. A wonderfully evocative, even lyrical book. This is a scholarly achievement of a very high order. It will be of substantial interest to specialists in a range of fields within the humanities and social sciences, who will be obliged in reading it to think again about many conventional views within their disciplines. But it should also reach a broader audience among all those concerned with how we should think about economics and politics in a new century full of uncertainties and insecurities."
"Review" by , This landmark work revisits the intellectual ferment of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries...[Rothschild] dismantles, with quiet authority, the stereotype of the Enlightenment as a period dominated by chilly rationalists.
"Review" by , "We have all read Adam Smith and we all think we know him well. But this text, in its emphasis on the period after 1776 and its coverage of related works from other nations, is full of revelations and delicious quotes from unstudied sources."
"Review" by , Rothschild's richly complex and deeply informed account of the writings of Adam Smith and of the Marquis du Condorcet locates them more closely in their own time and, by so doing, changes their significance for us today. The monolithic view of the cold, inhuman Enlightenment, propagated by the early nineteenth-century Romantics, is undercut by close analysis and understanding of the political and social contexts. The book is a triumph of scholarship and reinterpretation, as well as a model of expository prose.
"Review" by , "In her readable as well as scholarly book, Economic Sentiments, [Rothschild] links [Adam] Smith with the French philosopher the Marquis de Condorcet, another thinker seen today as an emblem of "cold hard and rational enlightenment" but in reality interested, like Smith, "in economic life as a process of discussion, and as a process of emancipation," in which "one's freedom to buy or sell or lend or travel or work is difficult to distinguish from the rest of one's freedom." This larger picture, Rothschild thinks, is what was lost as economics developed along with the society it analyzed, and what she hopes to restore."
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