Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

International Law and the Emergence of Mercantile Capitalism: Grotius to Smith

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the Hugo Grotius' achievement within the world-wide emergence of new types of economic relationship that have sometimes been abbreviated as the "empire of civil society". The natural rights theory put forward by Grotius was an important step in the development of legal and political thought that peaked in the publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1776. The basic legal elements of property and contract that one usually links with "capitalism" were already present in the Spanish scholastics. The view, homo economicus, operates both as a logical and an empirical construction in a way that purports to possess universal validity. As it arose at the end of the 18th century, and became the predominant vocabulary of human interaction in the 20th, it finally fulfilled the promise that had always drawn ambitious men to natural and international law.

Keywords: Adam Smith; capitalism; homo economicus; Hugo Grotius; international law; The Wealth of Nations



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Roots of International Law / Les fondements du droit international — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation