Villa I Tatti and European University Institute, Florence, 25-26 September 2014
This conference aims to unravel the complex interaction of the competing paradigms of luxury and
greed, which lie at the origins of modern consumption practices. In the western world, the phenomenon of luxury and the ethical dilemmas it raised appeared, for the first time since antiquity, in Renaissance Italy. Here luxury emerged as a core idea in the conceptualization of consumption. Simultaneously
greed, manifested in new, unrestrained consumption practices, came under close ethical scrutiny.
Other European countries soon followed suit, and similar debates emerged in Ming China with the
twin concepts of schechi and shemi. As the buying power of new classes gained pace, these paradigms
evolved as they continued to inform emerging global cultures through the Early Modern period. Emerging and established scholars will provide a new appraisal and vision of luxury and the ethics of greed throughout the Early Modern World.