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Download Early Debates about Industry: Voltaire and His by F. Schui PDF

By F. Schui

Has been on the centre of a few of the main ambitious political and monetary debates of the 19th, 20th and twenty-first centuries. This booklet explores the pivotal a long time of the eighteenth-century during which the trendy idea of was once, for the 1st time, on the center of heated debates in France and different ecu nations. The shut interpreting of up to date debates illuminates the origins of an fiscal key suggestion and indicates a clean point of view at the upward thrust of within the eighteenth-century.

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Extra resources for Early Debates about Industry: Voltaire and His Contemporaries

Sample text

The desire to possess the more refined products of industry changed the economic behaviour and dispositions of contemporaries across Europe. The objects of desire – ‘trinkets and baubles’ as Adam Smith famously called them – were readily available to anyone who could afford to pay for them. Contemporaries therefore worked more, and above all, in different ways. More people sought to work where they could earn the necessary money: in the production of marketable goods or directly for a wage. Domestic and agrarian forms of production became less attractive because they were mostly geared towards supplying goods for self-consumption.

23 From Voltaire’s birth in 1694 until 1730 – the year in which he wrote The Eavesdropper – the search for the word industry in his works remains frustrating. 24 In all three passages ‘industry’ is used in the original meaning of individual skilfulness and inventiveness. It is in this period in no way associated with an economic activity. A brief look into Frantext – one of the largest databases of francophone texts – confirms this picture: hardly any use of the term in the sectoral sense is recorded before 1694.

When Voltaire condemned Louis XIV for the revocation of the edict of Nantes, it was for the king’s intolerance but equally because the Huguenots took with them ‘their industry’. This qualitative meaning is also evoked when Voltaire insists that in the development of humanity ‘the spirit of commerce, of industry and of economy has been communicated from one person to another’. A similar understanding transpires from the writings of Voltaire’s fellow philosopher Montesquieu who discussed in the Spirit of the Laws how the ‘spirit of commerce and industry’ developed in England.

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