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The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment$
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Christopher J. Berry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748645329

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645329.001.0001

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. The Dangers of Commerce

. The Dangers of Commerce

(p.150) 6. The Dangers of Commerce
The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment

Christopher J. Berry

Edinburgh University Press

The chapter surveys the Scots’ discussion of/debate over a commercial society. The main bones of contention were whether luxury is (by and large) beneficial or whether it is (by and large) dangerously corrupting. The recognition of (and possible remedies for) the deleterious effects of the extensive division of labour on individual workers. The nature of citizenship, whether the need for public engagement (as in a militia) is superseded by the private well-being associated with the opulence. Finally while credit is necessary it was also seen as a potential weakness to social stability, something recognised even by those supportive of commerce.

Keywords:   Luxury, Credit, Debt, Division of labour, Militia, Citizenship

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