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Monday, October 28, 2013

Adam Smith Never Believed That "Greed is Good"

Gavin Kennedy is tired of hearing people mischaracterize Adam Smith's views:

... There are daily reports across the media and throughout academe of direct statements [that greed is good] from mainstream neoclassical economics, complete with endorsements of this mistaken theory allegedly based upon the writings of Adam Smith in Wealth Of Nations. The "Greed is Good" theme played well until recently and gave legitimacy to this tendentious and immoral, view of economics, even though credit as the source for such ideas belongs to Ayn Rand, and not to anything written by Adam Smith. ...
The ... is manifestly unwarranted and is not supported by anything that he wrote in any edition of “Moral Sentiments” (1759) or in “Wealth Of Nations” (1776).  If you think you know differently, please feel free to post a comment to that affect.
The claim that Adam Smith ever said anything in praise of “selfishness”, even in a pragmatic and regretful acceptance of it, is wholly unwarranted.  Unfortunately such notions are widespread in US academe...

    Posted by on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM in Economics, History of Thought | Permalink  Comments (48)

          


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