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Jealousy of Trade

Jealousy of Trade

International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective

Istvan Hont

ISBN 9780674055773

Publication date: 03/15/2010

Istvan Hont

This collection explores eighteenth-century theories of international market competition that continue to be relevant for the twenty-first century. “Jealousy of trade” refers to a particular conjunction between politics and the economy that emerged when success in international trade became a matter of the military and political survival of nations. Today, it would be called “economic nationalism,” and in this book connects the commercial politics of nationalism and globalization in the eighteenth century to theories of commercial society and Enlightenment ideas of the economic limits of politics.The book begins with an analysis of how the notion of “commerce” was added to Hobbes’s “state of nature” by Samuel Pufendorf. Hont then considers British neo-Machiavellian political economy after the Glorious Revolution. From there he moves to a novel interpretation of the political economy of the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly of David Hume and Adam Smith, concluding with a conceptual history of nation-state and nationalism in the French Revolution.Jealousy of Trade combines political theory with intellectual history, illuminating the past but also considering the challenges of today.


  • These are very remarkable essays and it is invaluable to have them published in collected form. Dr. Hont has for many years been working on the interaction of political economy and political theory in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and his knowledge of this field is unrivalled. He is able to study it in Central European, French, and British settings and perspectives, and his familiarity with recent (often Cambridge-inspired) developments in the methodology of intellectual history equips him especially well to present it to English speaking scholars. He is authentically a master in this field, and it is an exciting prospect to have his works in a single volume.

    —J.G.A. Pocock, Johns Hopkins University, author of The Machiavellian Moment


  • 2006, Winner of the J. David Greenstone Book Prize
  • 2007, Winner of the Joseph J. Spengler Best Book Prize
  • 2007, Winner of the J. David Greenstone Book Prize


  • Istvan Hont was a Reader in the History of Political Thought at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College.

Book Details

  • 560 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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