Anglican social thought and the shaping of political economy in Britain: Joseph Butler, Josiah Tucker, William Paley and Edmund Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The story of political economy is often told beginning with Adam Smith and his Scottish Enlightenment friends, then migrating to England where it took shape as a discipline in the early nine-teenth century. This telling of the story neglects the role of eighteenth century Anglican natural theological thinking about the evolving market economy. We know that Joseph Butler’s writings on the relationship between self-interest and the common good were important for Hume and Smith and other political econo-mists, as was the more explicitly economic work of Josiah Tucker. William Paley’s theological utilitarian framework and analysis of population and growth was the starting point for important nineteenth century political economists. Edmund Burke’s vigorous economic policy advocacy has its roots as much in the eighteenth century Anglicans as Smith, and Burke was an important conduit for the idea of a harmonious free market order into the nine-teenth century and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-45
Number of pages20
JournalHistory of Economics Review
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

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