Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer and Liberal Thought in France
English-speaking readers—separated from the authors discussed here by as much as two centuries—may be uncomfortable with the term “industrialism”, and may wonder why it is used in place of “industrialization”. The distinction is perhaps subtle: in its generally accepted meaning, industrialization is a process that involves mass production and mechanization, while industrialism is a school of thought that concerns itself, from either a supportive or a critical viewpoint, with the moral and intellectual aspects of the industrialization process. Similarly, the term “industrialist” is more likely in this context to refer to the proponents of “industrialism” than to the actual owners and operators of industry, and “industry” itself is frequently used to denote the quality of “industriousness” or what we might call work ethic. “Moral” and “morality” are often used in the sense of “psychological” or “mental” processes, as in “sciences of the mind”, as opposed to physical phenomena. The reader might be struck by the similarities between the 18th notion of “commercial society” and the liberals’ idea of “industrial society”. Although they use different terms they both mean societies increasingly dominated by free markets and free exchange. It seems they are grasping the word to describe a similar kind of society they had in mind. ← xi | xii →
The reader may also find the term “political economy” a rather quaint alternative for a discipline that we now call simply “economics”. The term has been retained in this book because it more accurately renders the économie...
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