We discussed Jeremy Bentham and utilitarianism a bit today. Pointed out that he had his body stuffed to be present at U of London board meetings (he thought people were too superstitious and needed an object lesson).
On the positive side, he really was trying to level out the playing field so that everyone counted in society, not just the privileged. The pleasure of Willy child coal miner counted as much as that of King George.
Aside from the picture of Bentham's stuffed head I was able to bring up on Google images, the most interesting idea to me was putting Adam Smith's agenda into perspective. Along with Bentham, the idea of capitalism was not to make a few very lucky people filthy rich but to empower everyone in society to be able to have a pleasurable economic life.
In other words, I don't think Adam Smith would have liked at all the unbridled capitalism of the late 1800's, where the worker was as disempowered as ever.