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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2020

Gregory M. Collins
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

The Introduction begins by presenting the problem of Burke’s conception of political economy: while Burke is known as the most celebrated critic of the abstract theory of the French Revolution, his defense of economic freedom rested in many ways on principles some French revolutionaries also endorsed, such as individual liberty, the right to property, a free grain trade. Framed differently, although Burke has acquired a powerful reputation for defending tradition, he also championed a human activity, market exchange, which was perceived by contemporaries as a disruptive force to settled social conventions. Therefore, was there an ineradicable tension in Burke’s thought between his praise of tradition and his embrace of commercial dynamism? Did he fully champion Adam Smith’s system of natural liberty? Did Burke offer a convincing way to overcome the “Burke-Smith” problem?, or “Das Edmund Burke Problem,” that of reconciling political stability with economic change? Answering these questions, I argue, can help us comprehend Burke’s own beliefs about the relation between political economy and ethics, and offer timely lessons on the compatibility between liberty and virtue in modernity.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Introduction
  • Gregory M. Collins, Yale University, Connecticut
  • Book: Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke's Political Economy</I>
  • Online publication: 24 April 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776813.001
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  • Introduction
  • Gregory M. Collins, Yale University, Connecticut
  • Book: Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke's Political Economy</I>
  • Online publication: 24 April 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776813.001
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please 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 account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Gregory M. Collins, Yale University, Connecticut
  • Book: Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke's Political Economy</I>
  • Online publication: 24 April 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776813.001
Available formats
×