James Steuart published An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Œconomy in 1767, the first systematic treatise on economics, nine years before Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Traditional historiography has tended to disregard and even deny Steuart’s oeuvre, categorizing him as the last, outdated advocate of mercantilist policies in Britain.

A clear portrait of a modernizing and enlightened Steuart emerges from this book, opening up an alternative approach to many key developments in economic theory. This book brings together a diverse international team of experts to overturn the "advocate of mercantilism" myth and explore different interpretations of Steuart’s work within the context of the writings of other contemporary authors. A diverse range of specialists – historians, economists, political scientist, and sociologists – reflecting the diversity of James Steuart’s work explore various aspects of the life, works, and influence of James Steuart, including his links to other authors who conceive – as Steuart did – the economic system of "natural liberty" as an artificial creation. The portrait of a demarginalized, modernizing, and enlightened Steuart emerges clearly in this book.

This book is not reduced to old authors whose ideas would be at the Museum of Dead Ideas, it has a very contemporary resonance. The subjects and the way Steuart tackles them could have a big influence on future authors who recognized some advantages of an alternative approach to many key developments in economic theory. This will also be of interest to scholars of history of economic thought, intellectual history, and 18th century history.

part Part I|86 pages

A society without invisible hands

chapter 1|11 pages

James Steuart on the public good 1

ByChristopher J. Berry

chapter 3|18 pages

James Steuart

Slavery and commercial society in his Principles of Political Economy
BySimona Pisanelli

chapter 4|18 pages

Beyond Montesquieu

Scottish institutional legal thought and Steuart’s spirit of the people
ByAida Ramos

part Part II|75 pages

Money, prices, and production

chapter 6|12 pages

James Steuart on John Law’s system

The beginnings of a rational monetary analysis?
ByJean Cartelier

chapter 7|22 pages

‘Writings on money full of instruction’

Steuart and Ricardo as two squabbling bedfellows
ByGhislain Deleplace

chapter 8|12 pages

James Steuart

A modern approach to the liquidity and solvency of public debt
ByNesrine Bentemessek, Rebeca Gomez Betancourt

chapter 9|11 pages

Steuart’s naïve theory of money and credit

A macroeconomic perspective
ByShigeki Tomo

part Part III|95 pages

Readers and readings of James Steuart

chapter 11|23 pages

James Steuart versus Adam Smith

Tempest in a teapot?
ByEyüp Özveren

chapter 12|10 pages

Steuart and Davenant on financing wars

ByYutaka Furuya

chapter 13|18 pages

Steuart, a late mercantilist?

ByMauricio C. Coutinho

chapter 14|25 pages

Steuart, Hegel, Chamley

A case upon the nature of ‘influence’
ByGilles Campagnolo