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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

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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Bellet, 2011. "Saint-Simonism and Utilitarianism : the history of a paradox. Bentham’s Defence of Usury under Saint-Amand Bazard’s Interpretation," Working Papers 1135, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1135
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    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. Murphy, Antoin E., 1997. "John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286493.
    6. Nathalie Sigot, 1998. "Les principes d'un système monétaire sain de Bentham," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 32(1), pages 117-140.
    7. Marco E.L. Guidi, 2009. "Jeremy Bentham," Chapters,in: Handbook of Economics and Ethics, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Joseph Persky, 2007. "Retrospectives: From Usury to Interest," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 227-236, Winter.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    utilitarianism; saint-simonism; interest rate; usury;

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates

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