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Economics as a Moral Science

The Political Economy of Adam Smith

By (author) Jeffrey T. Young
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Published: 1st Nov 1997
Dimensions: w 234mm h 156mm d 23mm
Weight: 666g
ISBN-10: 1858982677
ISBN-13: 9781858982670
Barcode No: 9781858982670
Synopsis
This insightful book offers an original approach to the moral philosophy and economics of Adam Smith. The author proposes new ways of linking Smith's moral theories to his economics, stressing that for Smith, a moral science of economics is not a contradiction in terms, and that moral questions actually lie at the heart of positive and normative economic analysis. Professor Young examines the methodology and philosophy of Smith's work and considers how morality and economics can be reconciled without sacrificing objectivity and testing. He questions whether economics can or should be a value-free science, and argues that economics can be a useful tool in solving moral problems. He extends the discussion on methodology to consider the concept of self- interest and the formation of moral values by the individual and by society in general. He examines the ethical effects of commercial society on the quality of life and well-being of the individual and society. In addition, the author discusses the themes of justice, fairness, the system of natural liberty, distributive equity and the common good. Economics as a Moral Science will be of interest to historians of economic thought, philosophers of science and scholars interested in political economy, economic theory and economic methodology.

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`Young has done a great service to the history of economic thought community by providing a thorough treatment of Smith from the perspective of economics as a moral science. . . Overall, Young's suggested connections between Smith's writings generally make sense, his reconstruction seems plausible and his book is generally internally consistent. His reconstruction is more satisfactory than many others. I rank this book. . . as one of the most serious and best interpretations of Smith in recent times.' -- James E. Alvey, History of Economics Reviews `I suggest that this is a significant work that economists, particularly Christian economists, should take seriously. . . . Young clearly has a great command of the literature on Adam Smith.' -- James Halteman, Association of Christian Economists `. . . I found Young's arguments both persuasive and compelling in exploring some of the underlying considerations motivating Smith's analysis. . . . What results is a thoughtful volume on the work of Smith, with special attention being given to the role that morals play in his economic system. Although Young asserts that "old Adam Smith problems neither die nor fade away", it is my opinion that Young actually makes the case that there was never much of an Adam Smith problem in the first place.' -- John J. Bethune, University of Tennessee, US