Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective


Astigarraga Jesus, university of zaragoza

Abate Ferdinando Galiani’s Dialogues sur le commerce des blés (1770) enjoyed extremely good fortune during the Spanish Enlightenment. Not only did an excellent translation of the book appear in 1775, but it was also widely read and quoted in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, thus making a decisive contribution to shaping the economic culture that was taking root in Spain during this fertile period for the circulating of economic ideas. Galiani’s success needs to be interpreted in the broader context of the enormous interest that the figures of the Neapolitan Enlightenment aroused among their Spanish contemporaries, although his many-sided role as economist, diplomat, consultant and high-ranking official in the Regno delle Due Sicilie from 1759 to 1787 meant that he had a closer connection with the Spanish world of his day than other Italian Enlightenment scholars such as Genovesi, Dragonetti and Filangieri. Galiani cultivated close relationships, both in person and through correspondence, with key politicians and officials of Charles III’s reign during the almost three decades that he served the Regno delle Due Sicilie. His “Spanish background” thus amounted to more than simply the intellectual business connected with the reception, circulation and active use of his writings in the Kingdom of Spain. There is no in-depth study of Galiani’s relationship with the country; a particularly striking paradox, especially when there are other works that frame his career in different national spheres, not only Naples and France, but also Germany. This paper´s main aim is therefore to reconstruct the “Spanish” Galiani, starting from his relationships with Spanish diplomatic networks when he was employed at the Neapolitan embassy in Paris from 1759 to 1769. As his correspondence shows, Galiani found these networks an ideal setting for forging human relationships, as well as a stronghold that enabled him both to consolidate his political influence in what he called the “café de l'Europe” and to put together the Dialogues.


Keywords: Galiani, Spanish Enlightenment, Neapolitan Enlightenment, grain trade, antiphisiocracy,

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