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Luxury and Public HappinessPolitical Economy in the Italian Enlightenment$
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Till Wahnbaeck

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269839

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269839.001.0001

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Pietro Verri, Cesare Beccaria, and the Beginning of the Debate

Pietro Verri, Cesare Beccaria, and the Beginning of the Debate

(p.155) 8 Pietro Verri, Cesare Beccaria, and the Beginning of the Debate
Luxury and Public Happiness


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how the Accademia dei Pugni acted as the single mouthpiece of the Enlightenment in Lombardy through the academy's journal, the Il Caffè. It adds that the academy was formed by a group of mostly aristocratic thinkers, the Milanese Enlightenment. It discusses Verri's economic thoughts regarding his justifications of luxury and how it would help the peasants. It then evaluates Cesare Beccaria's economic thought: the importance of agriculture and of economic freedom, the central role of consumption for economic development via the role of the circulation of money, and the belief in limited but clear state intervention in the field of finance. It examines Alfonso Longo's economic thought: the insatiable nature of man to constantly require more goods to consume results in an increase in production, sparking off yet new desires and new needs. It also investigates how the Milanese economists regarded the moral dimension of luxury.

Keywords:   Accademia dei Pugni, Milanese Enlightenment, Pietro Verri, Cesare Beccaria, Alfonso Longo, consumption

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