Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

Metaphor and narrative in Sismondi's economic discourse

Dal Degan Francesca, university of Pisa

Following the idea that metaphorical discourse has a strategic value for comprehension, as the seminal work of Black (1962) made clear and the conspicuous literature confirms, I will attempt to highlight the epistemological message of metaphorical images and narrative descriptions recurring in Sismondi’s economic writings. In particular, the use of these different devices, responds to the need of enlarging the hermeneutical basis of the economic scientific discourse in order to capture the sense of being free, which is active in any given society. As a narrative of liberty, his research deals with the problem of providing or restoring meaning to words, concepts, and interpretations of facts. “Surplus” and not just “profit” to mean “wealth”, “wealth” and not just “capital” to describe the resources of an economic system, “bonheur” and not needs’ satisfaction to identify the goal of human and social development constitute the most evident examples.

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Keywords: Sismondi, Nineteenth-century political economy, metaphors, epistemology

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