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Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke's Political Economy

$49.99 (P)

  • Date Published: June 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108489409

$ 49.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Although many of Edmund Burke's speeches and writings contain prominent economic dimensions, his economic thought seldom receives the attention it warrants. Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke's Political Economy stands as the most comprehensive study to date of this fascinating subject. In addition to providing rigorous textual analysis, Collins unearths previously unpublished manuscripts and employs empirical data to paint a rich historical and theoretical context for Burke's economic beliefs. Collins integrates Burke's reflections on trade, taxation, and revenue within his understanding of the limits of reason and his broader conception of empire. Such reflections demonstrate the ways that commerce, if properly managed, could be an instrument for both public prosperity and imperial prestige. More importantly, Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke's Political Economy raises timely ethical questions about capitalism and its limits. In Burke's judgment, civilizations cannot endure on transactional exchange alone, and markets require ethical preconditions. There is a grace to life that cannot be bought.

    • Provides a comprehensive discussion of Edmund Burke's economic thought without using economic jargon
    • Integrates Burke's economic thought in wider moral, social, and religious contexts
    • Offers a path forward for contemporary debates on capitalism and its limits by advancing a conception of free markets that are supported by social and religious institutions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Gregory Collins elegantly demonstrates that Edmund Burke, like his great contemporary Adam Smith, understood that commerce, properly conducted, can make individuals and communities not only better off, but better overall. Burke, like Smith, understood that political and economic thinking should intersect in a theory of moral sentiments.' George F. Will, Washington Post

    'With care and rigor leavened by an engaging writing style, Gregory Collins has dramatically advanced our understanding of Burke’s economic thought. This is an indispensable guide for all future Burke scholars.' Yuval Levin, National Affairs

    'A thorough study of Edmund Burke’s thought on economics in which every aspect is well-considered, every scholar answered, every point nicely phrased. This is a major contribution to Burke scholarship and to our understanding of the beginnings and principles of modern economics.' Harvey C. Mansfield, Harvard University and Stanford University

    ‘The book is impressive in its thoroughness on Burke on issue after issue, focusing on his words and deeds.’ Daniel B. Klein, National Review

    ‘This very thorough and thoughtful book goes a long way toward setting the record straight.’ Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

    ‘… the definitive account of Burke’s economic thought, one which shows how Burke’s political economy displays 'an underlying coherence that incorporated elements of prudence, utility, and tradition.' Samuel Greeg, Law and Liberty

    'Gregory Collins's study of the economic ideas of Burke is a comprehensive achievement. It will set the terms of discussion for a generation on Burke's political economy and its relation to his thinking about manners and morals.' David Bromwich, Yale University, author of The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke

    'A revelation.' David Brooks, The New York Times

    'Collins’s treatment of an undervalued aspect of Burkean thought will earn the prescriptive right to stand, for a long time, as the definitive study of the Anglo-Irish statesman’s political economy. Collins has done students of Burke and of political economy alike an immense service.' Greg Weiner, Assumption College

    'The first serious monograph dedicated to examining [Burke’s] views on political economy … An important and original study that adds significantly to our understanding of Burke.' Richard Bourke, University of Cambridge

    'A brilliant book, full of insight and illumination.' The Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, HM Government

    'A deep study.' James Grant, Wall Street Journal

    'Collins’s scholarship is impeccable.' Richard Whatmore, University of St Andrews

    'A tremendous achievement, one that reflects a great deal of thought and inspires a good deal of reflection as well … deeply researched and well-argued.' Jerry Z. Muller, The Catholic University of America

    'A fine book. It makes both an important contribution to contemporary debates about conservatism and freedom and to Burke scholarship.' Peter Berkowitz, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

    See more reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108489409
    • length: 578 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 162 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.95kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Biography:
    1. Biography and Burke's authority as a political economist
    Part II. Market Economies:
    2. Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, supply and demand, and middlemen
    3. Agricultural policy, labor, and wealth redistribution
    4. Markets, rationalism, and the Hayek connection
    Part III. The British Constitution and Economical Reform:
    5. The British Constitution: Burke's program of economical reform and the role of the state
    Part IV. Foreign Trade:
    6. Account of the European Settlements in America, the British West Indies, and the Free Port Act of 1766
    7. Observations on a Late State of the Nation and the political economy of Anglo-American imperial relations
    8. Anglo-Irish commercial relations, Two Letters on the Trade of Ireland, and the politics of free trade
    Part V. India:
    9. Britain's East India Company, Indian markets, and monopoly:
    10. Speech on Fox's India Bill, six mercantile principles, and the danger of political commerce
    Part VI. The French Revolution:
    11. Reflections on the Revolution in France: property, the monied interest, and the assignats
    12. The real rights of men, manners, and the limits of transactional exchange

  • Author

    Gregory M. Collins, Yale University, Connecticut
    Gregory M. Collins is Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer in the Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale University, Connecticut.

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