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

  • Michel Bellet


    (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure de Lyon)

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    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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    Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00654847.

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    Date of creation: 23 Dec 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00654847
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    1. David De Meza & Giuseppe Coco, 2001. "In Defence of Usury Laws," FMG Discussion Papers dp369, Financial Markets Group.
    2. 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.
    3. Murphy, Antoin E., 1997. "John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286493.
    4. Joseph Persky, 2007. "Retrospectives: From Usury to Interest," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 227-236, Winter.
    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. 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. 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.
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