Heterogenesis of Ends: Herbert Spencer and the Italian Economists

32 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2015

See all articles by Claudia Sunna

Claudia Sunna

University of Salento

Manuela Mosca

Università del Salento (Lecce) - Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Economia

Date Written: February 1, 2015

Abstract

The profound and extensive influence of Spencer’s thought is now generating a good deal of analysis, as is his contribution to evolutionist philosophy, to pedagogy, ethics, and anthropology. The aim of this paper is to highlight the importance of Spencer’s theoretical work on economic thought. It also analyses the way in which this work was discussed and interpreted by the Italian economists at the turn of the 19th Century. In particular, it investigates the influence of Spencer’s theory of evolution for the thought of Maffeo Pantaleoni (1857-1924) and Francesco Saverio Nitti (1868-1953). These two very representative Italian scholars, both belonging to the liberal-radical political area, were nevertheless on opposite sides for their economic methodology and the issue of government intervention in the economy. However, they both found their divergent inspiration in Spencer. Extending the study of the reception of his work to the Italian sociologists, this paper explains how, from those same theories, two diametrically opposed visions and perspectives on social change could arise.

Keywords: evolutionism, economic sociology, F.S. Nitti, M. Pantaleoni, population theory

JEL Classification: B13, B15, B31, B41

Suggested Citation

Sunna, Claudia and Mosca, Manuela, Heterogenesis of Ends: Herbert Spencer and the Italian Economists (February 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567189 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2567189

Claudia Sunna

University of Salento ( email )

via Taranto 35
Piazza Tancredi, N.7
Lecce, Lecce 73100
Italy

Manuela Mosca (Contact Author)

Università del Salento (Lecce) - Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Economia ( email )

Lecce 73100
Italy

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