Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Beccaria's Luxury of Comfort and Happiness of the Greatest Number

  • CARA CAMCASTLE (a1)
Abstract

Section I explores and articulates Beccaria's theory of luxury. Social classes tend to emulate the classes immediately above and below them. When a class increases the luxury that it consumes, this causes a chain reaction of increased demand for luxury by other classes. Satisfying the resulting new demand for luxury and non-luxury goods maximizes the happiness of a greater number of citizens. Following the consequentialist principle of utility theory, Beccaria concludes that luxury is beneficial. His writings are compared to those of Hume, Bentham and others. In section II Beccaria's demonstration that freedom of choice is a universally desired luxury indispensable for well-being in all human societies is contrasted to Rousseau's belief that luxury diminishes liberty and happiness. Beccaria values the distributive more than the aggregative maximization of utility in his analysis of luxury; the article explains why this carries wider implications for utilitarian theory.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Beccaria's Luxury of Comfort and Happiness of the Greatest Number
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Beccaria's Luxury of Comfort and Happiness of the Greatest Number
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Beccaria's Luxury of Comfort and Happiness of the Greatest Number
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

F. Petrella , ‘Benthamism and the Demise of Classical Economic Ordnungspolitik’, History of Political Economy 9 (1977), pp. 215–36.

P. J. Kelly , ‘Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice: The Civil Law and the Foundations of Bentham's Economic Thought’, Utilitas 1 (1989)

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Utilitas
  • ISSN: 0953-8208
  • EISSN: 1741-6183
  • URL: /core/journals/utilitas
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 20 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 314 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.