Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective

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9780674010383: Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective
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This collection explores eighteenth-century theories of international market competition that continue to be relevant for the twenty-first century. "Jealousy of trade" refers to a particular conjunction between politics and the economy that emerged when success in international trade became a matter of the military and political survival of nations. Today, it would be called "economic nationalism," and in this book Istvan Hont connects the commercial politics of nationalism and globalization in the eighteenth century to theories of commercial society and Enlightenment ideas of the economic limits of politics.

The book begins with an analysis of how the notion of "commerce" was added to Hobbes's "state of nature" by Samuel Pufendorf. Hont then considers British neo-Machiavellian political economy after the Glorious Revolution. From there he moves to a novel interpretation of the political economy of the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly of David Hume and Adam Smith, concluding with a conceptual history of nation-state and nationalism in the French Revolution.

Jealousy of Trade combines political theory with intellectual history, illuminating the past but also considering the challenges of today.

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About the Author:

Istvan Hont is University Lecturer in the History of Political Thought at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.

Review:

[A] major new study...Jealousy of Trade is a collection of pioneering essays in the history of political and economic thought, focused on a period extending from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries...Hont presents his argument with an absorbing combination of scholarly erudition and analytical force. But his project remains a deliberately historical one. Its aim is to rewrite the history of modern liberalism, beginning with its foundations...Hont departs from the revisionist projects of Pocock and Skinner. In opposition to them, he seeks neither to recover nor to renovate traditions of political thought occluded by the subsequent triumph of liberalism. His purpose, instead, is to restore to the long history of liberalism its properly sceptical foundations. He begins by debunking the liberal legend of the benign progress of modern liberty. At the same time, Hont refuses to endorse the counter-mythologies of Marxism and socialism. In striving to maintain this disabused perspective, Jealousy of Trade provides an account of the development of modern political argument freed from the ideological distortions bred by party-polemical zeal. Its ambition here is conspicuous, but so too is its intellectual energy and imagination. It is a landmark contribution to its field. (Richard Bourke Times Literary Supplement 2006-01-20)

Hont's painstaking work on Enlightenment political and economic discourse is historically invaluable, because it reveals the epoch-making impact of emergent global commercial empires, and forces us to recognize that the histories of individual European nation-states are really the products of a transnational (and ultimately global) process at once political and economic. (David W. Bates International History Review 2007-02-01)

What this book in any case shows is that eighteenth-century political and economic thought still holds a [many] secrets and unexplored territory that, if dealt with carefully, can enrich present-day reflection on the challenges of global markets and international peace. Not in the least, the message of Jealousy of Trade implies a forceful argument addressed to economic theorists not to disregard the international political conditions under which eighteenth-century thinkers developed political economy, as well as those under which their nineteenth-century equivalents turned it into a science. (Koen Stapelbroek Storia del Pensiero Economico 2007-01-01)

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ISBN 10:  0674055772 ISBN 13:  9780674055773
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