Thursday, March 27, 2008

Article on Adam Smith v J.J. Rousseau on Morality

From Sky of Ashes Blog (here, there is notice of an interesting article on “Commerce and Corruption: Rousseau's Diagnosis and Adam Smith's Cure" by Ryan Patrick Hanley (Marquette University,

Modern commercial society has been criticized for attenuating virtue and inhibiting the ethical self-realization of its participants. But Adam Smith, a founding father of liberal commercial modernity, anticipated precisely this critique and took specific measures to circumvent it. This article presents these measures via an analysis of his response to the critique of liberal commercial modernity set forth by Rousseau. It principally argues that Smith's distinctions of the love of praise from the love of praiseworthiness, and the love of glory from the love of virtue, were elements of a normative moral education that sought to elevate civilized man's corrupted self-love, and thereby recover within modern commercial society a respect for ethical nobility.’

The article is accessible from Here.

It is by subscription ($15 for downloadable access) from Sage and worth the price to read of this relatively neglected area of Adam Smith’s contributions. It raises an issue that underlies much of the controversy about morality and market economics, especially capitalism, but which is seldom discussed in context. As such it is enduring interest today.


Post a Comment

<< Home