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Title: Modern monarchy and commerce in the writings of J.H.G. Justi
Author: Adam, U.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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This dissertation offers an analysis of the political theory of Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi (1717-1771) who is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern German economic thought. Previous scholarship saw Justi exclusively as a representative of Cameralism, defined as the specifically Austrian-German version of Mercantilism which had never been influenced by or had an impact on broader European intellectual discourse. Instead of seeing Justi as quintessentially German thinker, this dissertation argues that his thought was a by-product of Enlightenment debates over the political implications of modern trade. Justi’s aim was to create modern commercial monarchies in the larger states of the Holy Roman Empire that could equal the military strength, political standing and economic performance of England and France. His most important works were published between the conclusion of the War of the Austrian Succession (1748) and the end of the Seven Years (1763) when competition among European powers was sharply on the increase. Justi’s economic thought was part and parcel of an innovative and comprehensive political reform plan for the entire European state system. He believed that the transformation of all the states of the continent into modern commercial monarchies could create peace and prosperity in Europe. Justi was convinced that the English constitution was not transferable to Germany. France was his model, provided Louis XIV’s mistaken policies of hegemony and the financial upheavals of the Regency could be avoided. Borrowing most of his ideas from the opposition to Louis XIV and XV, Justi was a critic of Montesquieu and the most important commentator in Germany of French debates concerning the idea of commercial nobility. He tried to adapt the ideas of Fénelon, Saint-Pierre, d’Argenson and others, and looked for China as a guidance. As an adherent of ‘democratic monarchy’ and of a European system of free trade, Justi offered comprehensive theory of both. Following an introductory chapter, the dissertation discusses Justi’s political economy in three chapters, first focusing on his idea of modern monarchy, and then discussing his ideas of political and economic reforms that might lead to it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available