CONFERENCE: registration open for 'Bentham's Political Economy', 16-17 December 2019, UCL

Tim Causer's picture
December 16, 2019 to December 17, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Economic History / Studies, Intellectual History, Political History / Studies, Political Science, Business History / Studies

A conference exploring the seminal economic thought of philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham, to be held at UCL on 16 –17 December 2019

The philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) is celebrated as both the founder of classical utilitarianism and a profound theorist of law. Despite his seminal treatment of rationality as cost–benefit analysis, and his recognition of the phenomenon of diminishing marginal utility however, he is often either overlooked altogether in histories of economic thought, or relegated to the status of a footnote. The Bentham Project and UCL Faculty of Laws are therefore delighted to be hosting a conference, to be held on 16–17 December 2019, on Bentham’s Political Economy.

A draft programme for the conference can be found below. Please visit the conference Eventbrite page for more details and to register:

Day 1: Monday 16 December 2019

9.00–9.30: Registration and coffee

9.30–9.45: Welcome by Philip Schofield (UCL Bentham Project)

9.45–11.00: Richard Whatmore (St Andrews): 'Bentham and the end of enlightenment'

11.00–11.20: coffee break

11.20–12.35: Panel 1

  • Adrian Walsh (University of New England, Australia): 'Bentham's Objections to Traditional Usury Doctrine: their normative underpinnings and historical significance'
  • Benjamin Bourcier (Lille Catholic University): 'The politics of international commerce in debate: Smith and Bentham'

12.35–1.45: Lunch

1.45–3.00: Marco Guidi (Pisa): Title to be confirmed

3.00–3.20: coffee break

3.20–4.40: Panel 2

  • Andy Dennis (City): 'Jeremy Bentham: from laisse-faire to dirigisme, and from natural law via atomism to a secular organicism'
  • Michael Quinn (UCL Bentham Project): 'Bentham's Political Economy: Economics or Politics?'

Day 2: Tuesday 17 December 2019

9.00–9.30: registration and coffee

9.30–10.45: Stephen Engelmann (Illinois at Chicago): 'Bentham, Political Economy, and Economic Rationality'

10.45–11.05: coffee break

11.05–12.35: Panel 3

  • E.G. Gallwey (Harvard University): 'Empires, Republics, and Financial Democracy: Jeremy Bentham and Albert Gallatin in the political economy of the early United States'
  • Vincent-Emmanuel Mathon: 'Tokenizing Bentham: Paper, Gold, and Crypto-currencies'

12.35–1.45: Lunch

1.45–3.15: Panel 4

  • Anthony Howe (University of East Anglia): 'Richard Cobden and the Benthamite legacy'
  • Michael Drolet (Worcester College, Oxford): 'From Utility to Radical Equality: the case of Jeremy Bentham and Joseph Rey'

3.15–3.35: coffee break

3.35–4.50: Annie Cot (Paris I): Title to be confirmed

4.50: Michael Quinn and Philip Schofield: closing remarks

The Bentham Project is grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for funding the conference, and for their generosity in funding editorial work on the final three of five volumes comprizing Writings on Political Economy, a major sub-project in the new authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. We are also grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council, whose earlier grant supported the editing of the first two volumes.

Available now from Oxford University Press:

Pre-publication texts now available for download:

For queries, please contact the conference convenor Dr Michael Quinn.

Contact Email: