The Invisible Hand and the Helping Hand

Iain McLean

in Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623525
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672110 | DOI:
The Invisible Hand and the Helping Hand

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores some of the ‘left-wing’ credentials of Adam Smith's maxims of taxation, even though they are a part of his thought that may seem to bring more comfort to the contemporary Right than Left. It is noted that the strong version of the Adam Smith Problem is certainly bogus. Smith does not ‘recommend’ sympathy in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and he most certainly does not ‘recommend’ selfishness in Inquiry into…the Wealth of Nations. The Theory of Moral Sentiments mostly argues for the spontaneous emergence of moral codes. The main public institution that Smith discusses is education. Smith suggested that ground-rents should be taxed more heavily than other sources of income. It is apparent that a great deal of the philosophy and economics of Adam Smith is important to policy-making in the twenty-first century.

Keywords: taxation; Adam Smith; The Theory of Moral Sentiments; Wealth of Nations; income; philosophy; economics; policy-making

Chapter.  8131 words. 

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.