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L’inégalité au temps de l’égalité : démocratie, industrialisation et paupérisme chez Alexis de Tocqueville


  • Jimena Hurtado



Tocqueville has been described as nostalgic of former times and aristocracy. According to this view, his criticisms of democracy show his preference for aristocratic societies. Here I try to show that it is not nostalgia, but his acute perception of the advantages and shortcomings of democracy that underlies Tocqueville’s reasoning. His analysis of pauperism illustrates the realism that characterizes his writings and that prevents him not only from being a nostalgic but also from being blinded by the advances of history. This text explores the sources of conflict between the rich and the poor which Tocqueville presents in order to show the risk in the increase in the number of poor workers and the possible emergence of a new aristocracy separated from the political community.

Suggested Citation

  • Jimena Hurtado, 2010. "L’inégalité au temps de l’égalité : démocratie, industrialisation et paupérisme chez Alexis de Tocqueville," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 59, pages 89-117.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2010:i:59:p:89-117

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    Cited by:

    1. Jimena Hurtado, 2017. "Alexis de Tocqueville sobre el pauperismo o las promesas incumplidas de la Revolución democrática," Documentos CEDE 015629, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.

    More about this item


    Tocqueville; pauperism; inequality; industrialisation;

    JEL classification:

    • B19 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Other
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • I39 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Other


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