Adam Smith Essay

Submitted By aboagyeee
Words: 584
Pages: 3

Adam Smith: * He wrote about key life events: * The rise of industrial capitalism * Rise of British imperialism * American revolution * French revolution * Smith today is seen as: * En economist * Neoliberal guru * A sociologist (?)
* Ontological (in reference to existence) or methodological individualist * Institutions reducible to actions of their members * The philosophical human individual in general * Homo economics * Institutions seen as expressions of psychological instincts * There are two explanations for this: 1. Philosophical epistemology * We need to check our capacity for knowledge * Empiricism * “There is no such thing as society” (Thatcher) * Pleasure, pain and sympathy are seen as visible 2. A naturalisation of bourgeois life * Only capitalist society is organised according to individual caprice
‘Das Adam Smith problem’: * Wealth of Nations vs. Theory of Moral Sentiments * Individual versus social being? * Egoism vs. morality? * Morality vs. Idealism? * A change or mind? * Or just dualist? Can be both at the same time? * The empirical world * Physical things * Other people
Two instincts/ forms of social relations: * Instrumental/ utilitarian * Needs are satisfied by particular things * Other people’s labour provides the means to realise these needs * Society is competitive * Communicative/ moral
Theory of moral sentiments (balancing self-interest): * Sympathy * As ‘fellow feeling’. Echo of primary feeling. * Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. * Propriety * Actions proper when an impartial spectator can sympathise with them * Aestheticism – appreciating moral action like an art * Duty. Look at yourself as others might see you. As an impartial spectator.
* Labour was the first price – Robinson Crusoe theory – Isolated from other people and yourself * Advantages of the division of labour * Increase in individual dexterity * A decrease in time wasted changing tasks * Simplifies tasks and allows mechanisation * It was an inclination to truck and barter (payments with goods and services - not money) * Money as useful technical invention * Theory of progress * The division of labour allowed people to have family time/ spare time. This allowed them to reproduce and increase the employment pool.
Market and value: * A ‘labour theory of value’ * Market price and natural price * An ambiguity between labour value vs. labour price * Opposed to a factor of production theory of value * Richardian socialism (the free-market was the route to socialism). * The market as a ‘hidden hand’. * Production is organised behind the backs of individuals. * Critique of state regulation
Historical materialism: * Class – distinguished by source of income. * Hierarchal structure
Hierarchal structure
Labour – wages * Capitalists – profit * Landlords – rent * This