Chrysohedonism or fear of goods

The fact that the early mercantilists kept talking about 'treasure' when they already meant 'capital' led their successors to be over-critical of them. To understand the mercantilists' 'hunger for goods', we must first evaluate the accusations levelled at them by the Enlightenment thinkers, starting from Hume on the balance of trade see below, page 214 , to Mirabeau,26 and to Adam Smith. Smith's were the most organic criticisms, and they had a devastating effect. It was these criticisms that...

The monastic economy and the reassessment of labour

During the Dark Ages sixth to tenth centuries the few intellectuals recorded by historiography were mainly compilers of summaries, collections and a species of encyclopaedia, which have handed down to us a synthesis of ancient and patristic culture. According to historians, those precious summaries hardly ever contained original thinking. They showed originality on only one major topic work. This subject, which was of marginal importance in the Graeco-Roman world and also in Patristics, became...

The pauperist movements

An early formulation of economic dualism is found in the eleventh century in St Peter Damian Pietro Damiani , a Benedictine cardinal and thus sympathetic to the issue of work , but also a strict hermit. Apparently Peter Damian simply underlined the distinction made by the Fathers between the life of religious figures, who must despise earthly things, and that of secular men, who can love the world, but not to excess.29 But in this traditional context, he put forward some ideas that were totally...