The Vigorous and Doux Soldier: David Hume's Military Defence of Commerce
History of European Ideas, Forthcoming
23 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 1, 2018
If war is an inevitable condition of human nature, as David Hume suggests, then what type of societies can best protect us from defeat and conquest? For David Hume, commerce decreases the relative cost of war and promotes technological military advances as well as martial spirit. Commerce therefore makes a country militarily stronger and better equipped to protect itself against attacks than any other kind of society. Hume does not assume commerce would yield a peaceful world nor that commercial societies would be militarily weak, as many contemporary scholars have argued. On the contrary, for him, military might is a beneficial consequence of commerce.
Keywords: Trade and Conflict, Commercial Peace, David Hume, Doux Commerce, Cost of War, Martial Power
JEL Classification: B1, H56, F02
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation