Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective on Markets, Law, Ethics, and Culture
Cambridge University Press, 2005 M10 3
Adam Smith is the best known among economists for his book, The Wealth of Nations, often viewed as the keystone of modern economic thought. For many he has become associated with a quasi-libertarian laissez-faire philosophy. Others, often heterodox economists and social philosophers, on the contrary, focus on Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, and explore his moral theory. There has been a long debate about the relationship or lack thereof between these, his two great works. This work treats these dimensions of Smith's work as elements in a seamless moral philosophical vision, demonstrating the integrated nature of these works and Smith's other writings. This book weaves Smith into a constructive critique of modern economic analysis (engaging along the way the work of Nobel Laureates Gary Becker, Amarty Sen, Douglass North, and James Buchanan) and builds bridges between that discourse and the other social sciences.
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Page 29 - How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
Page 306 - ... world with nothing left to the spontaneous activity of nature; with every rood of land brought into cultivation, which is capable of growing food for human beings; every flowery waste or natural pasture ploughed up, all quadrupeds or birds which are not domesticated for man's use exterminated as his rivals for food, every hedgerow or superfluous tree rooted out, and scarcely a place left where a wild shrub or flower could grow without being eradicated as a weed in the name of improved agriculture.
Page 110 - It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our , dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
Page 7 - The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of modern industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.
Page 96 - THE whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock must, in the same neighbourhood, be either perfectly equal or continually tending to equality.
Page 204 - To expect, indeed, that the freedom of trade should ever be entirely restored in Great Britain, is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or Utopia should ever be established in it.
Page 158 - By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security ; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
Page 118 - The liberal reward of labour," says Adam Smith, " as it encourages the propagation, so it increases the industry, of the common people. The wages of labour are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives. A plentiful subsistence increases the bodily strength of the labourer ; and the comfortable hope of bettering his condition, and of ending his days perhaps in ease and plenty, animates him to exert that strength to...
Page 187 - No regulation of commerce can increase the quantity of industry in any society beyond what its capital can maintain. It can only divert a part of it into a direction into which it might not otherwise have gone; and it is by no means certain that this artificial direction is likely to be more advantageous to the society than that into which it would have gone of its own accord.
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