A History of Political Thought: Property, Labor, and Commerce from Plato to Piketty

By Jeffrey Bercuson

© 2020

A History of Political Thought is an accessible introduction to the history of political and economic thought; its main focus is the rise, and eventual consolidation, of modern market society. It asks: What are the effects of private property and commerce on individual well-being and on the stability of the political community?

A History of Political Thought answers this central question through the careful study of political philosophers and economists, from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century. The book does not have an ideological agenda and gives equal voice to thinkers on opposite sides of the political spectrum. This is one of its key merits and a mark of distinction: its willingness to treat stark opponents – Hobbes and Locke, Smith and Marx, Keynes and Hayek, among others – as equally worthy of serious study. In doing so, the book provides students with a very powerful arsenal of ideas about the evolution of the market and also provides a solid introduction to the history of political thought.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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A History of Political Thought analyses market society by surveying the ideas of its most perceptive, thought-provoking observers – critics and defenders – from ancient Greece to the present day.

A History of Political Thought: Property, Labor, and Commerce from Plato to Piketty

By Jeffrey Bercuson

© 2020

A History of Political Thought is an accessible introduction to the history of political and economic thought; its main focus is the rise, and eventual consolidation, of modern market society. It asks: What are the effects of private property and commerce on individual well-being and on the stability of the political community?

A History of Political Thought answers this central question through the careful study of political philosophers and economists, from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century. The book does not have an ideological agenda and gives equal voice to thinkers on opposite sides of the political spectrum. This is one of its key merits and a mark of distinction: its willingness to treat stark opponents – Hobbes and Locke, Smith and Marx, Keynes and Hayek, among others – as equally worthy of serious study. In doing so, the book provides students with a very powerful arsenal of ideas about the evolution of the market and also provides a solid introduction to the history of political thought.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Jeffrey Bercuson is a professor in the School of English and Liberal Studies at Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    1. “…the less they value virtue”: Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas on the corrupting influence of money-making, personal and political
    2. “The felicity of this life”: Machiavelli and Hobbes on the possibility of delightful living
    3. “The desire of having more”: Locke on labour and the right to accumulate without limit
    4. “A course intended by nature”: Smith and Kant on the overwhelming benefits of commerce, domestic and international
    5. “Make money contemptible and, if possible, useless”: Rousseau on modern discontent
    6. “The reason which shines through”: Hegel on the ethical dimensions of property and commerce
    7. “Free, conscious activity”: Marx on alienation and the path to genuine human emancipation
    8. “A dozen wise men”: Lenin on the revolutionary vanguard
    9. “The function of industry”: Tawney on the demands of equality and the need for democracy
    10. “Restless industry from early till late”: Nietzsche on a higher concept of culture
    11. “The nobler exercise of the faculties”: Keynes on the art of enjoyment
    12. “A narrow field of vision”: Hayek on the insuperable limits of knowledge
    13. “The curse of money”: Rawls on plutocracy and the demands of economic justice
    14. “An endless spiral”: Piketty on the dynamics of wealth and income inequality in the 21st-century
    Works Cited

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