Melchiorre Gioja - Encyclopedia




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MELCHIORRE GIOJA (1767-1829), Italian writer on philosophy and political economy, was born at Piacenza, on the 10th of September 1767. Originally intended for the church, he took orders, but renounced them in 1796 and went to Milan, where he devoted himself to the study of political economy. Having obtained the prize for an essay on "the kind of free government best adapted to Italy" he decided upon the career of a publicist. The arrival of Napoleon in Italy drew him into public life. He advocated a republic under the dominion of the French in a pamphlet I Tedeschi, i Francesi, ed i Russi in Lombardia, and under the Cisalpine Republic he was named historiographer and director of statistics. He was several times imprisoned, once for eight months in 1820 on a charge of being implicated in a conspiracy with the Carbonari. After the fall of Napoleon he retired into private life, and does not appear to have held office again. He died on the 2nd of January 1829. Gioja's fundamental idea is the value of statistics or the collection of facts. Philosophy itself is with him classification and consideration of ideas. Logic he regarded as a practical art, and his Esercizioni logici has the further title, Art of deriving benefit from ill-constructed books. In ethics Gioja follows Bentham generally, and his large treatise Del merito e delle recompense (1818) is a clear and systematic view of social ethics from the utilitarian principle. In political economy this avidity for facts produced better fruits. The Nuovo Prospetto delle scienze economiche (1815-1817), although long to excess, and overburdened with classifications and tables, contains much valuable material. The author prefers large properties and large commercial undertakings to small ones, and strongly favours association as a means of production. He defends a restrictive policy and insists on the necessity of the action of the state as a regulating power in the industrial world. He was an opponent of ecclesiastical domination. He must be credited with the finest and most original treatment of division of labour since the Wealth of Nations. Much of what Babbage taught later on the subject of combined work is anticipated by Gioja. His theory of production is also deserving of attention from the fact that it takes into account and gives due prominence to immaterial goods. Throughout the work there is continuous opposition to Adam Smith. Gioja's latest work Filosofia della statistica (2 vols., 1826; p vols., 1829-1830) contains in brief compass the essence of his ideas on human life, and affords the clearest insight into his aim and method in philosophy both theoretical and practical.

See monographs by G. D. Romagnosi (1829), F. Falco (1866); G. Pecchio, Storia dell' economia pubblica in Italia (1829), and article in Ersch and Gruber's Allgemeine Encyclopadie; for Gioja's philosophy, L. Ferri, Essai sur l'histoire de la philosophie en Italie au XIX e siècle (1869); Ueberweg's Hist. of Philosophy (Eng. tr., appendix ii.); A. Rosmini-Serbati, Opuscoli filosofici, iii. (1844) (containing an attack on Gioja's "sensualism"); for his political economy, list of works in J. Conrad's Handworterbuch der Staatswissenschaften (1892); L. Cossa, Introd. to Pol. Econ. (Eng. trans., p. 488). Gioja's complete works were published at Lugano (1832-1849). He was one of the founders of the Annali universali di statistica. 'GIOjLITTI, Giovanni' (1842-), Italian statesman, was born at Mondovi on the 27th of October 1842. After a rapid career in the financial administration he was, in 1882, appointed councillor of state and elected to parliament. As deputy he chiefly acquired prominence by attacks on Magliani, treasury minister in the Depretis cabinet, and on the 9th of March 1889 was himself selected as treasury minister by Crispi. On the fall of the Rudini cabinet in May 1892, Giolitti, with the help of a court clique, succeeded to the premiership. His term of office was marked by misfortune and misgovernment. The building crisis and the commercial rupture with France had impaired the situation of the state banks, of which one, the Banca Romana, had been further undermined by maladministration. A bank law, passed by Giolitti failed to effect an improvement. Moreover, he irritated public opinion by raising to senatorial rank the director-general of the Banca Romana, Signor Tanlongo, whose irregular practices had become a byword. The senate declined to admit Tanlongo, whom Giolitti, in consequence of an interpellation in parliament upon the condition of the Banca Romana, was obliged to arrest and prosecute. During the prosecution Giolitti abused his position as premier to abstract documents bearing on the case. Simultaneously a parliamentary commission of inquiry investigated the condition of the state banks. Its report, though acquitting Giolitti of personal dishonesty, proved disastrous to his political position, and obliged him to resign. His fall left the finances of the state disorganized, the pensions fund depleted, diplomatic relations with France strained in consequence of the massacre of Italian workmen at AiguesMortes, and Sicily and the Lunigiana in a state of revolt, which he had proved impotent to suppress. After his resignation he was impeached for abuse of power as minister, but the supreme court quashed the impeachment by denying the competence of the ordinary tribunals to judge ministerial acts. For several years he was compelled to play a passive part, having lost all credit. But by keeping in the background and giving public opinion time to forget his past, as well as by parliamentary intrigue, he gradually regained much of his former influence. He made capital of the Socialist agitation and of the repression to which other statesmen resorted, and gave the agitators to understand that were he premier they would be allowed a free hand. Thus he gained their favour, and on the fall of the Pelloux cabinet he became minister of the Interior in Zanardelli's administration, of which he was the real head. His policy of never interfering in strikes and leaving even violent demonstrations undisturbed at first proved successful, but indiscipline and disorder grew to such a pitch that Zanardelli, already in bad health, resigned, and Giolitti succeeded him as prime minister (November 1903). But during his tenure of office he, too, had to resort to strong measures in repressing some serious disorders in various parts of Italy, and thus he lost the favour of the Socialists. In March 1905, feeling himself no longer secure, he resigned, indicating Fortis as his successor. When Sonnino became premier in February 1906, Giolitti did not openly oppose him, but his followers did, and Sonnino was defeated in May, Giolitti becoming prime minister once more.

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