Friday, 6 January 2012

Recovering Adam Smith's ethical economics

While some men are born small and some achieve smallness, it is clear that Adam Smith has had much smallness thrust upon him. (Amartya Sen)
Adam Smith is famous for founding economics as an independent field of study by synthesising and systemizing classical economics in The Wealth of Nations. But he was also a significant moral philosopher in his own right who deserves to be recognised alongside his close friend David Hume as a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith saw economics as a branch of moral philosophy, and he saw capitalism as an ethical project whose success required political commitment to justice and freedom, not merely an understanding of economic logistics.