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John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and the development of political economy

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Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are typically linked with the foundations of political economy, while at the same time, Locke's teaching is regarded as differing substantively from that of Hobbes. Locke, in fact, differs from Hobbes on only one substantive issue, that of the political regime most compatible with a commercial republic. Recognising Hobbes' preference for monarchy as a deficiency in his natural law teaching, Locke was able to establish that teaching on firmer ground than had been possible for Hobbes. Moreover, Locke's more prudent presentation of this new teaching, which decisively rejected the previous tradition of Western thought, significantly advanced its acceptance. In the most important aspect of Hobbes' thought, that of his application of the method of the new mathematical sciences to the study of human nature, Locke is in complete agreement with his predecessor.
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Keywords: Development; Economy; Politics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-08-14

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