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Needs and passions of human subsistence in the moral economy of the early 18th century: Defoe and Mandeville

Antonella Picchio

History of Economic Ideas, 2003, vol. 11, issue 2, 7-29

Abstract: In this paper human subsistence is used as focal perspective. Working on Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Mandeville’s Fable we speculate on the role of passions in shaping the structural dynamics of the economic system. Subsistence is here seen as a historical process of ‘making’ an individual and collective life. In this perspective the ‘man and society’ relationship – the analytical focus of eighteenth-century social theorists – emerges as grounded in the struggle for daily living and reWnement and shaped by the tensions inherent in historical practices of self control and social governance.

Date: 2003
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