John Stuart Mill

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John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (London, 1806 - Aviñón, France, 1873) philosopher, political writer, economist; he is considered by many historians to be among the last of the English classical economists. However, Mill is also regarded as a Socialist.[1][2][3] Friedrich Hayek regarded Mill as a father of English Socialism,[4] as did several Fabian socialists.[5]

Homeschooled by his father with the assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place (Following the principles of the Rousseau's Emilio). Mill supported laissez-faire but with social reforms like redistribution of wealth, shorter working days, and regulation of monopolies. Mill was ahead of his time in advocating the development of labor unions and farm cooperatives, and emancipation (voting) by women. He sympathized with the North in the American Civil War. He was also an atheist.

In his book "On Liberty," Mill advocated that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." This statement is called Mill's harm principle.[6] He advocated freedom of speech, and generally freedom of action too. Mill also advocated utilitarianism, a concept previously proposed by the atheist Jeremy Bentham.

In 1851, John Stuart Mill married Harriet Taylor. She was a significant influence on Mill's work and reinforced his advocacy of women's rights. Mill treated his wife as his intellectual equal[7] and so Taylor was able to publish a great deal of her own work, such as "The Enfranchisement of Women".

John Stuart Mill is regarded as being a classical liberal,[8] among the likes of Thomas Paine[9] and John Locke.[10] This is due to his favour of free market, albeit with some government intervention such as a tax on alcohol, and his belief in social liberalism, detailed in his magnum opus, On Liberty.

Early life

John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806 in a house on Rodney Street in Pentonville, London.[11] His father James was also a philosopher.


  • "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposing side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. [1]
  • "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
  • "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."
  • “A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.”

Quotes about Mill

  • "I am personally convinced that the reason which led the intellectuals, particularly of the English-speaking world, to socialism was a man who is regarded as a great hero of classical liberalism, John Stuart Mill." - Friedrich Hayek[12][13]

See also


External links