Adam Smith and His Legacy for Modern Capitalism

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Oxford University Press, 1991 - Capitalism. - 219 pages
This book reexamines Adam Smith's major works from a philosophical point of view. Werhane shows how Smith's three major works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Lectures on Jurisprudence, and The Wealth of Nations present a progressive and unified set of theses. This careful study attacks the caricature of Adam Smith as a radical individualist who argued that government should play no role in economic affairs, and that the market is autonomous and self-regulating. Werhane shows that Smith argues that human beings are not motivated merely by self-interest in economic affairs nor is the market an autonomous regulator. An economy functions adequately only when free economic actors act with prudence, when there is cooperation and coordination of competitive activities, and where competition is balanced in the context of a societal framework of justice. Werhane argues that a careful reading of Smith's major works show that it is justice, not self-interest or benevolence, that is the most basic virtue to Smith, and that a system of natural jurisprudence is necessary for a viable as well as an ideal political economy.

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Contents

Introduction
3
The Moral Psychology of the Theory
23
Natural Rights Liberty and Natural Jurisprudence
54
Copyright

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