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The State, the Market and the Individual. Politics, Economy and the Idea of Man in the Works of Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith and in Renaissance Humanism

Torben Hviid Nielsen
Acta Sociologica
Vol. 29, No. 4 (1986), pp. 283-302
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4194642
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The State, the Market and the Individual. Politics, Economy and the Idea of Man in the Works of Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith and in Renaissance Humanism
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Abstract

Thomas Hobbes, the father of modern state theory, regarded the loss of the self-government of the individual as a pre-condition of peace, the achievement of which the state was a necessary instrument. Adam Smith, the father of political economy, similarly regarded the loss of the versatility of the individual as the price for that growth and prosperity, the achievement of which the division of labour and the market were necessary instruments. However, the self-government and versatility of individuals were also the decisive characteristics of the ideal man of renaissance humanism. Are the state and the market as institutions, politics and economics as means of directing them compatible with the ideal man of humanism? What effect has the simultaneous growth of the state and the market since the renaissance had on the types of individuals and the crisis of governability in society?

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