Chapter

Originally Sinful: “<i>Das Adam Smith Problem” and the “Dismal Science</i>”

in Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226137063
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226137087 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226137087.003.0002
Originally Sinful: “Das Adam Smith Problem” and the “Dismal Science”

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When it came to the questionable morality of Adam Smith's economic system, the central problem called “Das Adam Smith Problem” was that Smith had written two influential books and not one. Another way of stating the problem is simply to ask where morality is in The Wealth of Nations, or what kind of morality it presupposed and possibly sanctioned. The answers to the questions posed by “Das Adam Smith Problem” are various and all too often depend on whether the answerer was (or is) a fan of market capitalism. Those who admire Smith and the world that he helped create insist that there never was any “Das Adam Smith Problem” in the first place. Political economy, they argue, simply is moral philosophy and reflects, even if “invisibly,” the values and assumptions of this earlier discipline from which it emerged.

Keywords: morality; Adam Smith; economic system; Adam Smith Problem; political economy; moral philosophy; capitalism

Chapter.  4964 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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