Adam Smith's moral economy

Berry, C. (2011) Adam Smith's moral economy. Kyoto Economic Review, 79(1), pp. 2-15.

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This paper has the following four-part structure. In the first part, I quickly rehearse the classical disparagement of commercial or economic life (in deliberate contrast to the more highly valued life of politics or active citizenship). In part 2, I outline Smith’s defence of commerce— his vindication of what he calls opulence and freedom. In the third part, I correct that interpretation of Smith that reads this defence as unleashing asocial or selfish behaviour and thus as freeing the ‘economy’ from moral norms (as a ‘de-moralisation’). Rather, I argue that Smith’s own moral philosophy, with its roots in social interaction, is based on a criticism of self-love that does, moreover, permit a wider critique of aspects of his contemporary commercial society, while steadfastly adopting a view of ‘liberty’ that is thoroughly moralised. I conclude in part 4 with a brief summary.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Berry, Professor Christopher
Authors: Berry, C.
Subjects:J Political Science > JC Political theory
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Kyoto Economic Review
Journal Abbr.:KER
Publisher:Kyoto University
ISSN (Online):1349-6778
Published Online:01 January 2011
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