Natural Law and the Origin of Political Economy Samuel Pufendorf and the History of Economics
Samuel Pufendorf’s work on natural law and political economy was extensive and has been cited by several important figures in the history of economic thought. Yet his name is rarely mentioned in textbooks on the history of economic thought, the history of political science or the history of philosophy. In this unprecedented study, Arild Sæther sheds new light both on Pufendorf’s own life and work, as well as his influence on his contemporaries and on later scholars.
This book explores Pufendorf ’s doctrines of political economy and his work on natural law, which was translated into several major European languages. Natural Law and the Origin of Political Economy considers the influence he had on the writings on political economy of John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith, amongst others. If Smith can be called the father of modern economics, this book claims that Pufendorf can be called the grandfather.
This volume is of great importance to those who study Pufendorf ’s extensive works, as well as those interested in history of economic thought, political economy and political philosophy.
Part I: Childhood and Education
Childhood: Turbulent Times
- University Education in Leipzig and Jena
- A Creative Imprisonment in Copenhagen
- Academic Career
- A Champion of the Enlightenment
- Method of Analysis
- Theory of Human Behaviour
- Private Property and the Four-Stages Theory
- Theories of Value, Money and Trade
- The Foundation of States and Council Decisions
- Division of State Powers and Principles of Taxation
- A Great Popularizer
- John Locke an Admirer of Pufendorf
- The First French Followers
- Charles Montesquieu: A Great Philosopher
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau: A Political Thinker
- The First Economic Model Builders
- Gershom Carmichael brought Pufendorf to Scotland
- Francis Hutcheson a User of Pufendorf
- Pufendorf as a Predecessor of Adam Smith
- The Bedevilled Historians
- Have Economists Overlooked Pufendorf?
- Pufendorf the Grandfather of Political Economy
Part II: A True European
Part III: Doctrines of Political Economy
Part IV: Diffusion of Pufendorf’s Economic Ideas
Part V: Early French Philosophers and Pufendorf
Part VI: Scottish Followers of Pufendorf
Part VII: How could Pufendorf be Overlooked?
"Sæther gives an impressive proof of erudition and wide reading, and this in an epoch when erudition has become almost a pejorative word in some circles … He was … independent and could write about fundamental questions in the history of thought which fewer and fewer economists even know existed. It is a light in the darkness that the result has been published as a doctoral thesis and a book at a respected publishing house."
Bo Sandelin, Ekonomisk Debatt
"The book is well-written and prefiguratively structured, and summarizes Sæther's more than 30-year interest in Pufendorf! [...] It helps us to expand our understanding of the origin of the economics profession. The author's burning engagement rubs off on the reader. The author fights for what he believes is Pufendorf's legitimate place in Europe's intellectual history, and especially for a place in the history of economic ideas."
John A. Hunnes, University of Agder, Samfunnsøkonomen no. 3, 2019