Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi

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Jean Charles de Sismondi

Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi, often cited as Simondo Sismondi, (C.E.1773 – 1842), Swiss economist, historian and literary critic.

Quotes by Simonde de Sismondi:

  • Political economy is perhaps the only science whose immediate object is the universal beneficence and prosperity of men; because it is it that claims to teach the Government how it can preserve and increase the wealth of nations; encourage agriculture, from which abundance will arise; make trade flourish, which will divide the goods of the earth among its inhabitants according to their industry; perfect the arts, which will multiply the enjoyments of men, by making the progress of all the other sciences tend to their advantage. [...] A science which is announced as having as its aim the prosperity of all men becomes almost an object of derision if it is enclosed in a vain theory, the application of which is never undertaken. Such is perhaps the fate of Political Economy today. [...] Certainly, one of the great causes of their neglect of theories which could have increased their enlightenment would be found in the character of the men of government; but since we cannot expect them to be sensitive to the criticism of men of letters, or to submit with docility to the lessons that are claimed to be given to them, it is a question here of seeking the faults of the writings on Political Economy, and not theirs, whether we want to increase the influence of political theories on Governments, and bring them closer to their purpose.[1]
  • Universal competition and the effort to produce more and more at a lower price... is a dangerous system.[2]
  • [On Vittorio Alfieri] [...] this quivering impatience, which pushes him forward towards a goal he could not distinguish... this painful agitation of a soul in anguish in all the bonds of society, in all conditions, in all countries; ... this imperious need for something freer in the State, more proud in man, more devoted in love, more complete in friendship; ... this ardor in search of another existence, of another universe, which he sought in vain, with the speed of a messenger, from one end of Europe to the other, and which he could not find in the real world ...
[...] cette bouillante impatience, qui le poussait en avant vers un but qui'il ne savait distingui... cette agitation douloureuse d'une âme à l'étroit dans tous les lines de la société, dans toutes les conditions, dans tous les pays; ... that must be impérieux of that which chose the most free in the age, the most proud in the man, the most devout in the love, the most complete in the friendship; ... cette ardeur after another existence, after another universe, where you look for travel, with the rapidity of a courier, from another end of Europe, [sic] here 'you can't find it in the world of film...[3]

History of the French:

  • The most licentious of all the poets of this libertine school was a Sovereign, a Jerusalem Knight, returned from the Crusade, William IX, Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine. His great joviality and spirit had generally forgiven the scandal of his customs, although in him religious profanation was always mixed with debauchery. He had built in Niort a house dedicated to gathering his Beauty; he called it his Monastery, and he had conferred the titles of Abbess, Prioress and other monastic dignities to the Courtesans who lodged there, in adequate proportion to the impudence of their life. (vol. V, chapter XII, p. 62)
  • The young king [[[Charles VI of France]]] had never been subjected to any discipline nor roughed up by the slightest study. He knew nothing other than what he might have learned by conversing in the courts; half enough to acquire a very light set of ideas and common notions, to form the gracefulness of manners and to procure that certain nobility and affability of character that was noted in Charles VI, and for which the monarch whose reign was the most everlasting scourge that ever afflicted France, had the ridiculous [sic] of Beloved. But no positive knowledge, neither of science, nor of administration, nor of politics, nor of religion had, on the contrary, been acquired by him. (vol. XII, chapter XXI, pp. 8-9)
  • This unfortunate monarch [Charles VI of France] enjoyed waging war and wandering among the tumult of arms; and although incapable of distinguishing friends from enemies, he was always willing to fight against anyone who was pointed out to him as infenso[4] and rebellious, and also to be cruel against it. (vol. XII, chapter XXX, p. 430)

History of the Italian republics of the middle centuries:


At the end of the fifth century, Romulus Augustulus, emperor of the West, son of a patrician who of those times was perhaps the only general born Roman, was deposed by his soldiers, who replaced him Odoacer, with of the captains of the imperial guards, of Herulian or Scythian origin[5]. This usurper suppressed the name of Western empire out of modesty, and was content with the title of king of Italy. Then the sovereignty of Rome was first transferred to the northern nations.


  • Niccolò Piccinino, leader of the soldiers trained first by Braccio [da Montone], was among the other Italian generals the most loyal to the Duke of Milan. He would still have considered himself the best and perhaps placed above Francesco Sforza, if he had not sometimes risked his own reputation through excessive daring. (volume IX, p. 116)
  • Piccinino in particular was jealous of Sforza; there could be no peace that this general had taken his place among the sovereigns with the purchase of the March, while he himself, who in talents and valor in Italy was equal to Sforza, he himself, who, as heir and pupil of Braccio, could have aspire to the sovereignty that this general had formed, had only a precarious existence dependent on the prince who hired him. (volume IX, p. 149)
  • Piccinino, already in his old age, could not make peace with the fact that with so many battles, with so many victories, he had not been able to acquire a land where his head could rest. All the great captains of his century had successively risen to sovereign power; he seemed to have more right to it than anyone else, since he should have received the principality of Braccio by hereditary title as he received his army; yet he alone was neither richer nor more powerful at the end of his long glorious career than he was at the beginning. He had lost Bologna when he thought he would make it his capital; two routs in a very short time had squandered his riches and scattered his soldiers; one of his sons was a prisoner, the other a fugitive, and he could only place his hopes in the generosity of a prince [Filippo Maria Visconti] accused of inconstancy by all Italy, and often of perfidy. This prince had actually caused his ruin by deceiving him. (volume IX, pp. 255-256)
  • No monster ever pushed ferocity as far as Dracula; no one invented more terrible supplicants. He finally fell victim to the horror he had inspired. (volume X, p. 213)

Quotes about Simonde de Sismondi:

  • To G. C. Sismodo de' Sismondi | solemn historian and economist | for his works I deserve him | more than can be written | of Italy of France | and of the human race. (Giovanni Battista Niccolini)






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  1. Cited by J.C.L. Sismondi, The two systems of Political Economy - Discourse on a question proposed by the Imperial Academy of Wilna, Italian Academy of Sciences. Letters and Arts, Livorno, 1710, p. 53-54.
  2. Quoted in AA.VV., The book of economics, translated by Olga Amagliani and Martina Dominici , Gribaudo, 2018, p. 79. ISBN 9788858014158
  3. Quoted in The Italian classics in the history of criticism, a work directed by Walter Binni, vol. II, from Vico to D'Annunzio, La Nuova Italia, Florence, C.E.1973, p. 211.
  4. Hostile, hostile (from the Latin infensus).
  5. Procop. De Bello Goth. l. 1. c. 1. – Byzant. t. II. p. 2. – Jornandes De reb. Get. c. 46. ​​t. I. – Rer. Ital. p. 214.