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Love, Self-Deceit and Money

Love, Self-Deceit and Money: Commerce and Morality in the Early Neapolitan Enlightenment

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Love, Self-Deceit and Money
    Book Description:

    "Love drives and gives life to the commerce of mankind." Thus, the sixteen year old Ferdinando Galiani (1728-1787) presented his project to understand the sociable nature of man. This observation, a reflection of his own position on the relation between trade and virtue, hinted at what the mature works of Galiani, one of the most noteworthy economists and wits in eighteenth-century Italy, would eventually yield.

    InLove, Self-Deceit, and Money, Koen Stapelbroek reconstructs the Early Neapolitan Enlightenment debate on the morality of market societies, a debate that hinged on the preservation of Naples' independent statehood in a global arena of commercial and military competition. Galiani rejected the moralizing and mercantile ideas of his contemporaries regarding the dangers threatening Naples, and, in hisDella moneta(1751), he justified the systems set in place by the Neapolitan government. With reference to early, previously unstudied lectures on self-deceptive 'Platonic love,' Koen Stapelbroek examines Galiani's role in the wider debate, arguing that his early moral philosophical and historical work suggests a great deal about his political-economic stance, including his assertion that money is the ultimate ordering principle in the universe.

    As a study of one of the most idiosyncratic minds of the Enlightenment period,Love, Self-Deceit, and Moneyshows how diverse ideas of the development of individual passions into social dispositions, commerce, and reform politics dovetailed seamlessly in the intellectual climate of eighteenth-century Europe.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8853-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction: Neapolitan Eighteenth-Century Visions of a Small State in the Modern World
    (pp. 3-11)

    Ferdinando Galiani (1728–1787) was one of the most visionary political thinkers of the eighteenth century. He was a major contributor to the Neapolitan political debate, which throughout the whole of the eighteenth century was intimately related to European discussions about the future of the existing states system. However, these things have been difficult to recognise.

    The young Galiani was a precocious, classically educated scholar with a love for satire. At the age of nineteen he publishedComponimenti varii per la morte di Domenico Jannacone(1748), a series of imaginary obituaries in honour of the public hangman in the pompous...

  5. 1 Commerce, Morality, and the Reform of Naples
    (pp. 12-55)

    At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Italian peninsula was divided into a handful of states that were directly ruled by or under the influence of foreign powers. Since the Renaissance, Italy’s role in Europe had shifted from a major cultural and commercial centre to a main battleground of extra-Italian dynastic rivalries. The sequence of succession wars of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century had caused a depopulation of the countryside, which confronted the major cities with problems of rapid urbanisation. The concomitant complex of a shortfall in agricultural productivity, increasing tax pressures, and monetary disorders had seriously...

  6. 2 Celestino Galiani: The Moral Power of Commerce
    (pp. 56-87)

    A few scribbles on a piece of paper attached to Celestino Galiani’s main manuscript indicate the nature of the challenge that he found himself confronted with during the first decades of the eighteenth century. Celestino explicitly referred to Pierre Bayle’s famousDictionnaireand wrote that ‘the true principle of our customs [costumi] lies so little in the speculative judgements [giudizi speculativi] that we form out of the nature of things, that there is nothing more common than seeing orthodox Christians who live badly and Libertine spirits who live well.’¹ Here, Celestino did not revert to atheism, but acknowledged that Christian...

  7. 3 Doria and Vico: True Utility against Pleasure
    (pp. 88-126)

    Celestino Galiani’s understanding of the sociable nature of man was only one response to the sort of moral scepticism that Bayle had put forward and which concerned early eighteenth-century scholars across Italy.¹ Whereas Celestino aligned true knowledge, religion, pleasure, and social interaction in such a way that modern commercial societies could be understood as confirming the plan of Creation, there were those, in Naples as everywhere, who rejected the ‘Lockian’ approach of taking pleasure as the ultimate foundation of morality. Paolo Mattia Doria, for instance, held that the human drive to develop selfish, sinful behaviour and pursue false utility was...

  8. 4 Galiani’s Moral Philosophy: ‘Love’ as the Principle of Society
    (pp. 127-164)

    ‘Love drives and gives life to the commerce of mankind [commercio umano]’: thus, the just seventeen-year-old Ferdinando Galiani presented his project to understand the sociable nature of man in a letter written in 1745. As Galiani explained himself to his correspondent, an Englishspeaking gentleman presumed to be a Scottish Jacobite:¹ ‘it is my usual habit with regard to all matters, however marginal, to examine them metaphysically. And if there is one thing that deserves to be examined metaphysically it is love, that admirable resource.’² One year later, the young man lectured before the Accademia degli Emuli on lust and love,...

  9. 5 Della moneta: Commercial Sociability and Monetary Politics
    (pp. 165-207)

    Galiani’s concept of utility was undoubtedly the principle behind the idea of commercial sociability inDella moneta. The book was written to criticise the economic reform proposals of Neapolitan jurists who were internal critics of the government, the anti-modern sentiments of Galiani’s Neapolitan contemporary Carlantonio Broggia, and the dominant views of the time about money and commercial reforms among Italian authors. The political views of all his opponents, Galiani believed, derived from a faulty and superficial understanding of the nature of commerce: ‘he who would know a lot more about human behaviour [operazioni umane], when the conduct of entire nations...

  10. Epilogue: Galiani and the Limits of the Enlightenment
    (pp. 208-224)

    AlthoughDella monetawas received with mild enthusiasm in Naples and the whole of Italy,¹ the book never became what Galiani had probably intended it to be, a manifesto for Italian enlightened political economy in the spirit of Intieri. Nevertheless, Galiani was hailed as the author of what was generally recognised as an impressive work on monetary politics, and travelled across Italy in 1751–3 to be introduced to the most important scholars and government figures of the time.² The dominant Neapolitan government minister, Bernardo Tanucci, also discovered Galiani’s diplomatic talent, upon which he was sent to Paris, in 1759,...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 225-248)
  12. Index
    (pp. 249-263)