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05/10/2021

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Jeff Bell

Great post Eric! The 18th century text that came to mind as I was reading this, and seems to have been a crucial text that marks the discontinuity you point to in your last paragraph, is this passage from James Steuart's Statistical Account of Scotland: '...a modern economy is the most effective bridle ever invented against the folly of despotism...the sovereign finds himself so bound up by the laws of his political economy that every transgression of them runs him into new difficulties' (1767, 322).

Eric Schliesser

Hi Jeff, that lovely Steuart passage figures prominently in one of pieces at Newapps: https://www.newappsblog.com/2013/01/weekly-philo-of-economics-the-gentle-hand-of-james-steuart-and-neo-liberalism.html. (And in the piece, I was pleasantly surprised, I link it to Foucault, Ordo-liberalism, and Jeff Bell!)
There is interesting fact that Foucault completely ignores Steuart (and the elements of Hume's political economy on which it is based). In my next post I want to explain what Foucault finds so useful in Ferguson's (and Smith's) account of civil society (and so can ignore Steuart).

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.

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