This paper provides an in-depth investigation of the origin and meaning of the little-known manuscript, Élémens de la police générale d'un Etat, published in Yverdon (Switzerland) in 1781. The starting point is the determination of the true authorship and origin of the manuscript, which is shown to be in fact an abridged and annotated version of a fundamental German cameralist text by J. H. G. von Justi, Die Grundfeste zu der Macht und Glückseligkeit der Staaten (1760/61). This finding introduces a reflection on the intricate context of juxtapositions and similarities between the ideas of cameralism and Policeywissenschaft (police science) in the Germanic world and in French economic thought during that historical moment. Giving attention to the author/translator of this Élémens, the paper also contributes to an original reflection on the importance of Switzerland in the dissemination of cameralism, between the Germanic and French traditions, and explores the importance of Justi's books and ideas within this context. The examination of this particular book and the reflection on the police ideas, with direct implications for the discourse and practice of enlightened reformism, serves equally to discuss connections and continuities in the enlightened economic discourse, in which the State-interventionist perspectives are combined rather than opposed to the emergent discourse on economic freedom.
A Previously Unnoticed Swiss Connection in the Dissemination of Cameralist Ideas during the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century
Alexandre Mendes Cunha; A Previously Unnoticed Swiss Connection in the Dissemination of Cameralist Ideas during the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century. History of Political Economy 1 September 2017; 49 (3): 497–529. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-4193057
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