Chapter

Law and Economics: Adam Smith's Analysis

Neil MacCormick

in Legal Right and Social Democracy

Published in print March 1984 | ISBN: 9780198255024
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198255024.003.0006
Law and Economics: Adam Smith's Analysis

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The disputes over natural law and rationality in ethics among the Scottish moralists were carried on at a level to which Benthamite moralizing on the basis of a merely asserted principle of utility never aspired; and the attempts of the Scottish moralists to account for the historical development of legal orders within theories of economy and society has been altogether too much neglected since then. It is within that general intellectual context that this chapter places Adam Smith as a theorist of law. This chapter gives an account of what Smith has to say. This discussion owes a great deal to Skinner's essay, ‘Adam Smith on Law and Government’. To some extent, one is faced with the task of reconstructing themes out of lectures which he had hoped would never be published.

Keywords: natural law; rationality; Scottish moralists; legal orders; Adam Smith; economy; society

Chapter.  9044 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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