La 18e conférence annuelle de l'European Society for the History of Economic Thought se tient cette année à Lausanne. Elle a pour thème Liberalisms : perspectives and debates in the history of economic thought. Dans ce cadre aura lieu la remise du prix de la BEST SCOLAR EDITION 2013 aux éditeurs des œuvres complètes de C.-H. Saint-Simon (PUF 2012 - Quadrige 2013) et une table ronde se tiendra autour de cet auteur le vendredi 30 au matin.
La communication portera sur l'étonnante construction intellectuelle qui conduit Saint-Simon à passer presque insensiblement du libéralisme à une forme très moralisée et spiritualisée de socialisme.

Abstract :
Saint-Simon had a plan of social reform in which all the advantages of industrial improvements are used without the evil effects (exploitation, social inequality). His society is a big workshop into which the social organisation is determined by bankers, the representatives of commerce, industry and agriculture, but also of literary and scientist industry. All these can keep the economy going while the State and government could not. The social energies are directed towards the productive resources of the economy, the primary role of government is to facilitate the freedom to produce. The social contract of "Geneva's citizen" must be materialised. The production have for first aim to improve the lot of the people, “la classe la plus pauvre et la plus nombreuse”.
Each member of the society was to draw benefits from the common pod in proportion of his work and stake (the capacity, the available means, including the capital). Saint-Simon doesn't want the abolition of private property. The ain of his socialism is equality of opportunity, the industrial equality and abolition of the privilege of inheritance. The wages are justified by individual capacity rather than need.
The classical economy, Locke's definition of individual property, didn't question the private property which is "natural". For Saint-Simon, the property is a social, collective institution, even it have individual aspects. Socialism then, is the practical organisation of economic institutions, in relation with the definition of the collective nature of work, knowledge, etc. The political economists, focusing only on how increase production, are too specialised and limited. We need « more vast, more daring and more general views ». If Saint-Simon read Bentham and Say, is purpose is – from classical liberalism but beyond it – very different of theirs. His socialism is a moral and radical social reform, he want to use economy and industry for practical and spiritual aims (the post-christian values of social justice for the poors, solidarity as a new definition of charity).

Lien vers le site de la conférence : ESHET Conférence de Lausanne