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Saint-Simonism and Utilitarianism : the history of a paradox. Bentham’s Defence of Usury under Saint-Amand Bazard’s Interpretation

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  • Michel Bellet

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    (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; Université Jean Monnet ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne, Saint-Etienne, F-42000, France)

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    Abstract

    This article reveals and studies the connections between Bentham’s Defence of Usury (1787) and Saint-Amand Bazard (1791-1832), a founder of Saint-Simonianism. We first traces Bazard’s exposure to Bentham through his unknown friendship with Bentham’s publisher Etienne Dumont. After introducing in details the Saint-Simonian views on interest and money, we examines the significance of Bazard’s translation of Defence of Usury and his shared opposition against usure laws. We explain why the puzzling reference to Benthamite utilitarianism is not fortuitous but appears to justify a common ground between Bentham’s utilitarism and Saint-Simonianism. This connection did not survive the July Revolution.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure in its series Working Papers with number 1135.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1135

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    Keywords: utilitarianism; saint-simonism; interest rate; usury;

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    1. Antoinette Baujard, 2010. "Collective interest versus individual interest in Bentham's felicific calculus. Questioning welfarism and fairness," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 607-634.
    2. Joseph Persky, 2007. "Retrospectives: From Usury to Interest," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 227-236, Winter.
    3. Giuseppe Coco & David De Meza, 2009. "In Defense of Usury Laws," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(8), pages 1691-1703, December.
    4. José Luís Cardoso & António de Vasconcelos Nogueira, 2005. "Isaac de Pinto (1717-1787): An Enlightened Economist and Financier," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 263-292, Summer.
    5. Gilbert Faccarello & Philippe Steiner, 2008. "Religion and Political Economy in Early-Nineteenth-Century France," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 40(5), pages 26-61, Supplemen.
    6. Murphy, Antoin E., 1997. "John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286493.
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