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Capitalism as a Moral System

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Capitalism as a Moral System

Adam Smith’s Critique of the Free Market Economy

9781849801294 Edward Elgar Publishing
Spencer J. Pack, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Connecticut College, US, Economic Advisor, Sybil Capital Fund
Publication Date: 2010 ISBN: 978 1 84980 129 4 Extent: 208 pp
This powerful and thoroughly documented book overturns many long-held beliefs about Adam Smith. Spencer Pack demonstrates that contrary to popular myth, Adam Smith was not a dogmatic defender of laissez-faire capitalism and neither was he in favour of regressive taxation. The book stresses for the first time the many qualms and problems – indeed the profound ambiguity – which Adam Smith felt toward the capitalist system.

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Critical Acclaim
Contents
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This powerful and thoroughly documented book overturns many long-held beliefs about Adam Smith. Spencer Pack demonstrates that contrary to popular myth, Adam Smith was not a dogmatic defender of laissez-faire capitalism and neither was he in favour of regressive taxation. The book stresses for the first time the many qualms and problems – indeed the profound ambiguity – which Adam Smith felt toward the capitalist system.
Critical Acclaim
‘The most noted figure in the history of economic thought is, of course, Adam Smith. Captured in recent times by free-market ideologues who have never read his work, he is also the most misunderstood. This is a fine treatment of this wise, wonderful, literate and intensely pragmatic scholar.’
– John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard University, US

‘Adam Smith is frequently hailed as an early advocate of free enterprise, an enemy of government and a spokesman of the industrial bourgeoisie. In this fascinating book however, Spencer Pack argues that Smith’s position on the role of the state in a capitalist society was not so different from that of a modern 20th century liberal (in the American sense of that term). Here is a surprising thesis that will make readers think again not just about Adam Smith but also about capitalism and government intervention under capitalism. This is a book that will appeal to an intelligent layman just as much as to professional economists.’
– The late Mark Blaug, formerly of the University of London and University of Buckingham, UK
Contents
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. The Wealth of Nations: The Theoretical Books 3. The Wealth of Nations: The Latter Books 4. Obvious Wealth of Nations Lessons: The Questions of Laissez-Faire and Regressive Taxation 5. The Theory of Moral Sentiments 6. Rhetoric, Science and Smith’s Wealth of Nations 7. Lessons from the Lectures on Jurisprudence 8. Character Formation Under Capitalism: The Downside of Smith’s System of Capitalism 9. Conclusion Bibliography Index

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