Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

Language: English

Pages: 600

ISBN: 0691154058

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Adam Smith (1723-90) is perhaps best known as one of the first champions of the free market and is widely regarded as the founding father of capitalism. From his ideas about the promise and pitfalls of globalization to his steadfast belief in the preservation of human dignity, his work is as relevant today as it was in the eighteenth century. Here, Ryan Hanley brings together some of the world's finest scholars from across a variety of disciplines to offer new perspectives on Smith's life, thought, and enduring legacy.

Contributors provide succinct and accessible discussions of Smith's landmark works and the historical context in which he wrote them, the core concepts of Smith's social vision, and the lasting impact of Smith's ideas in both academia and the broader world. They reveal other sides of Smith beyond the familiar portrayal of him as the author of the invisible hand, emphasizing his deep interests in such fields as rhetoric, ethics, and jurisprudence. Smith emerges not just as a champion of free markets but also as a thinker whose unique perspective encompasses broader commitments to virtue, justice, equality, and freedom.

An essential introduction to Adam Smith's life and work, this incisive and thought-provoking book features contributions from leading figures such as Nicholas Phillipson, Amartya Sen, and John C. Bogle. It demonstrates how Smith's timeless insights speak to contemporary concerns such as growth in the developing world and the future of free trade, and how his influence extends to fields ranging from literature and philosophy to religion and law.

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deception in initially keeping from the audience what is to be argued. If, however, the audience is thought to be favorable to the orator’s position, he should affirm at the outset what he is to prove and then proceed to adduce his arguments for it and controvert anything that goes against it. This, the “Aristotelian” method, is held out as “harsh and unmannerly.” Figure 2.1. Four kinds of discourse/styles of composition. These four kinds of discourse are summarized in figure 2.1, which

make them given our imperfections. Whether this hope for Smith was based in a belief in an Author of Nature, or grounded in an Enlightenment belief in historical progress, he clearly felt it was not in vain. NOTES Thanks to Ryan Hanley, Michael Frazer, Eric Schliesser, Daniel Green, Zak Calo, and Danny Priel for comments on previous drafts. 1. Ronald Dworkin, “Thirty Years On,” Harvard Law Review 115 (2012), p. 1676. 2. Nicholas Phillipson, Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life (London: 2010), p.

principles of the banking trade may appear somewhat abstruse, the practice is capable of being reduced to strict rules. To depart upon any occasion from those rules, in consequence of some flattering speculation of extraordinary gain, is almost always extremely dangerous, and frequently fatal to the banking company which attempts it” (WN V.i.e.33). The failure of so many giant investment banks during the 2008–9 financial crisis provides a stark illustration of what can happen when carefully

left, 481; moderate, 157–62, 166–69; radical, 157, 168; types of, 157–58 egoism, 192 Ehrenreich, Barbara, 489 Elliot, Gilbert, 41 El Saadawi, Nawal, 367 emotion: and justice/law, 372; in rhetorical theory, 21; role of, in knowledge development, 92–94, 101, 112. See also sentiments; specific emotions emotional contagion, 193–95, 199–201, 359, 419n4 empathy, 21, 141, 194, 358 empiricism, 433 Encyclopedists, 436, 446, 447 Engels, Friedrich, 489 enkráteia, 149–51. See also self-command

Accumulation requires that individuals are less prodigal and more parsimonious … and parsimony requires security. Thus in Smith’s analysis security is the sine qua non of the dynamic of accumulation, investment, and growth. This focus on the importance of parsimony and security sets Smith’s WN analysis into the larger context of his moral philosophy. Progress depends on society being “well governed” (WN I.i.10). The optimal locus of that “government” is individual ethics (à la TMS).4 An ethical

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