Chapter

David Hume: Economic Writings 

Andrew Stewart Skinner

in A System of Social Science

Second edition

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198233343
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191678974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198233343.003.0011
David Hume: Economic Writings 

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Adam Smith endeavoured to link philosophy, history, and economics as part of the grand plan announced in the closing pages of the first edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and repeated in the advertisement to the sixth and last edition of that work. But when we take the Treatise of Human Nature in conjunction with the Essays, it becomes apparent that the outlines of the model had already been established by David Hume. Hume identified ‘action, pleasure and indolence’ as essential to human happiness but in practice placed most emphasis on the first. This chapter also examines Hume's views on self-interest and the pursuit of gain, self-interest and constraint, historical dynamics and the exchange economy, and international trade. Hume's use of history in his economic writings is also discussed.

Keywords: Adam Smith; David Hume; philosophy; history; economics; happiness; action; self-interest; international trade; historical dynamics

Chapter.  9981 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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