The republican foundations of Sismondi's Nouveaux principes d’économie politique

History of European Ideas 31 (1):17-33 (2005)

This paper reassesses Sismondi's Nouveaux principes d?économie politique (1819) by locating the origins of his unorthodox political economy in the republican tradition of thought. Deeply influenced by both Smith and Rousseau, Sismondi first expounded his republican creed in a political treatise, Recherches sur les constitutions des peuples libres (1797?1801). He was in favour of a balanced constitution combined with public virtue. Sismondi's major historical work, the Histoire des républiques italiennes du Moyen Age (1807?1818), amounts to a tribute to the liberty and patriotism brought about by republican governments. After a brief examination of De la richesse commerciale (1803), the third section of the paper is devoted to a close analysis of the Nouveaux principes. The foci of interest are Sismondi's views on property, commercial wealth, work and leisure, division of labour, consumption and luxury, paper money and public credit, and citizenship. The paper concludes by suggesting that Sismondi managed to transform Genevan republicanism into a set of ideas which has nourished economic radicalism up to the present
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DOI 10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2004.03.007
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