After Adam Smith: A Century of Transformation in Politics by Shannon C. Stimson, Murray Milgate

By Shannon C. Stimson, Murray Milgate

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Few matters are extra critical to our current predicaments than the connection among economics and politics. within the century after Adam Smith's Wealth of countries the British financial system was once remodeled. After Adam Smith appears to be like at how politics and political economic climate have been articulated and changed. It considers how grand principles in regards to the connections among person liberty, loose markets, and social and financial justice occasionally attributed to Smith are as a lot the made from sluggish alterations and adjustments wrought by way of later writers.

Thomas Robert Malthus, David Ricardo, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, and different liberals, radicals, and reformers had a hand in conceptual alterations that culminated within the introduction of neoclassical economics. The inhabitants challenge, the declining value of agriculture, the implications of industrialization, the structural features of civil society, the position of the nation in financial affairs, and the potential limits to growth have been questions that underwent major readjustments because the thinkers who faced them in numerous occasions and conditions remodeled the framework of principles complicated via Smith--transforming the discussion among politics and political economic climate. by way of the top of the 19th century an industrialized and globalized industry financial system had firmly proven itself. via exploring how questions Smith had initially grappled with have been recast because the financial system and the foundations of political economic system altered throughout the 19th century, this e-book demonstrates that we're as a lot the heirs of later pictures of Smith as we're of Smith himself.

Many writers assisted in shaping alternative ways of wondering economics and politics after Adam Smith. through ignoring their interventions we hazard misreading our past--and additionally misusing it--when wondering the alternatives on the interface of economics and politics that confront us this day.

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5 It was, however, sufficient to draw Smith’s sharp rebuke a century later; for him, mercantilist regulation was not simply a nonsalutary economic policy but also constituted a political assault on “the boasted liberty of the subject” in sacrifice “to the futile interests of our merchants and manufacturers” (1776, 2:660). A further taste of this understanding of civil society contained in mercantilist literature may also be extrapolated from British mercantile policy towards the colonies in the eighteenth century.

While divergent in many respects, the literature of mercantilism contains several unifying commitments. First, the accumulation of gold and silver bullion (“treasure”) was deemed indispensable to both the wealth of the nation and political power. Second, foreign trade was important as the only source (beyond mines or foreign conquest) of treasure: “we have got no other means to get treasure but no resonance in the language of nineteenth-century Britain. One of the spheres of selfgoverning associations within Britain that Harris mentions as contrasting with the European state-oriented practice is that of commerce.

The character of republicanism continues to be contested. Of particular importance is Eric Nelson’s argument positing an alternative set of values to those derived from Roman thought—the redistributive as opposed to the accumulative attitude to wealth (2004; see also van Gelderen and Skinner 2005). 26 Winch’s approach was to consider more carefully the contextual political discourse at work at the time that Smith wrote. Although not identical in approach, it is fair to say that Winch’s method shared a concern with the interpretation and understanding of speech acts in the history of political thought first discussed by both Pocock and Skinner in the 1960s and 1970s.

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