IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Montesquieu et les pauvres


  • Catherine Larrère



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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    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)


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2010:i:59:p:24-43. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Carlos Andrés Vasco Correa). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.