モラル・エコノミーとポリティカル・エコノミー Moral Economy <i>versus</i> Political Economy

Access this Article

Abstract

Economics today is confronted with great difficulties as it attempts to theoretically treat environmental concerns and many other serious problems. This situation, in my view, has been brought about partly by the way of thinking that confines economics largely to the analysis of the price mechanisms of goods in so far as they find their way into the market. On the contrary, the conception of “moral economy” as formulated by E. P. Thompson recognises that many important facets of the life of people in a society exist outside the market. Through research into historical sources of the food riots in eighteenth century England, he found that there existed a traditional and customary right to subsistence among the labouring poor. These poor repeatedly rioted against increases in corn and bread prices in times of dearth, selling them at prices they set themselves. In light of this history, Thompson severely criticised Adam Smith's theory of free trade in the corn market as victimizing the labouring poor, and hence he criticised Smith's political economy as a whole. However, despite his correctness in emphasising the necessity for remedies to scarcity among the poor, he seems to have misunderstood the character and nature of political economy in general. Political economy from Smith to J. S. Mill and economics even after the 1870s sought to remedy the poverty of the labouring poor as a subject and to reconcile their rights to subsistence with the right of property.

Journal

  • Annals of the Society for the History of Economic Thought

    Annals of the Society for the History of Economic Thought 36(36), 26-39, 1998

    The Japanese Society for the History of Economic Thought

Codes

Page Top