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Montesquieu et les pauvres

Author

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  • Catherine Larrère

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Abstract

Montesquieu relates poverty not to a lack of patrimony but to the impossibility of working. He thus fully contributes to the modern, economic secular vision of poverty: poverty is not a matter of charity but of organizing labour. Montesquieu shares the liberal, optimistic creed that the development of wealth will end poverty, which can only be residual or accidental. Therefore, he criticizes the Colbertist policy of poorhouses, while promoting the necessity of temporary remedies to economic dysfunctioning. He mainly targets deliberate policies of low wages, while his definition of poverty aims at making an oxymoron of the working poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Larrère, 2010. "Montesquieu et les pauvres," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 59, pages 24-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2010:i:59:p:24-43
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    File URL: http://www.cairn.info/resume.php?ID_ARTICLE=CEP_059_0024
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; work; social rights; poor houses;

    JEL classification:

    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)

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