Hume’s Political Discourses (1752) won immediate acclaim and positioned him as an authoritative figure on the subject of political economy. This volume of thirteen new essays definitively establishes the central place of political economy in Hume’s intellectual endeavor, as well as the profound and far-reaching influence of his theories on Enlightenment discourse and practice. A major strength of this collection is that the contributors come from a diverse set of fields – philosophy, economics, political science, history and literature. This promotes a comprehensive reading of Hume’s political economy, taking into account his entire set of writings and correspondence, in a way that captures his polymathic genius. Hume’s analyses of trade and commerce not only delve into the institutions of money and markets, but also human agency, the role of reason and the passions, manners and social mores. Hume sought general principles but also concrete applications, whether he grappled with the problem of economic development (Scotland and Ireland), with the debates on luxury consumption (France), or with the mounting public debt (England).
This book is a key resource for students and researchers in the areas of economic and political philosophy, history of economic and political theory, and the history of ideas.