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6 - Wealth and Corruption: Eighteenth-Century Social and Economic Thought in Four Scandals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2021

Frans De Bruyn
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa
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Summary

This chapter examines eighteenth-century moral debates about wealth, poverty and corruption in the emerging commercial state. In particular, it discusses four important moments in these debates: Bernard Mandeville’s celebration of avarice and vice, the fustigations of writers like Bolingbroke, Trenchard and Gordon about the corruption they attributed to financial and commercial innovations, Adam Ferguson’s worries about the corruptions of commercial modernity, and, finally, Adam Smith’s indignation at the spirit of monopoly that threatened to undermine the moral and material gains of commercial society.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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