Political Authority and the International

Conservative Politics and Laissez Faire Economics? The Burke-Smith Problem Revisited

Edmund Burke is commonly understood as having championed free markets, thereby revealing debts to Adam Smith, and a long line of scholars have identified a tension between this aspect of Burke’s thinking and his conservative politics. This paper dissolves the supposed contradiction in Burke’s thought by revealing the legal character of his political economy. The exercise also suggests some new avenues for investigating British political economy.

Ryan Walter studies the history of economic and political thought. His current project examines the ethoi and arts of reasoning that economists were obliged to defend in early nineteenth-century Britain in response to widespread hostility to the very existence of their discipline, which was often treated as a form of philosophical enthusiasm. The long-range hypothesis to test in future work is that the manner in which political economy emerged as a distinct science in the nineteenth century made it exceedingly difficult to stabilise the office of the economist in relation to government, and that the nature of this office has been an object of contest inside and outside economics ever since.

4.00pm Thursday 27 October 2016
Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower,
University of Queensland, St Lucia
For further information, please contact iash@uq.edu.au or 07 334 69492


Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower (Building #1)