Dissertation > Economic > Economics > History of Economic Thought > World > Modern Economic Thought ( 1640 ~)

An Inquiry into Adam Smith’s Thoughts of Economic Ethic

Author NieWenJun
Tutor DengAnQing
School Hunan Normal University
Course Ethics
Keywords economic ethic economics ethics the Adam Smith Problem liberalism individualism physiocracy liberty natural order self - interest justice sympathy Economic Man Invisible Hand prudence beneficence virtue
CLC F091.3
Type PhD thesis
Year 2003
Downloads 1721
Quotes 8
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Being an overlapping and marginalizing science between economics and ethics, economic ethics is thriving along with the development of social realities. The original dividing line in system or form between e-conomics and ethics is undoubtedly starting from Adam Smith. Adam Smith’ s thoughts of economic ethic are the original theoretical resources of our study of economic ethic.The research of Adam Smith’s thoughts of economic ethic not only help us to understand Smith’s economic theory more profoundly and completely so as to build the economic theory to suit our country’s reality and guid the practice of our socialist market economy, it also serves as a useful reference for our moral construction of socialist market economy.Adam Smith lived in the eighteenth century. The cultural tradition of whole Europe and the philosophical trends of his time were the theoretical bases that produced his thoughts of economic ethic, especially physiocracy and David Hume and Francis Hutcheson and Bernard Mandeville brought about a direct influences upon his thoughts. The forming and developing liberalism gave its priority to vindicating personal owned property, removing the restriction and restrainment from others, countries and societies for individuals’ proper actions. Individualism sets private interests and values in the first place, takes the individual - selves as the destination, but society is only the means for bringing about individual destinations. Liberty is individuals’ liberty and the individual is liberal individual, so liberalism connects unseper-atedly with individualism. The economic thoughts of French Physiocracy gave many enlightenments to Smith, especially their central concept of Natural Order was inherited and developed by Smith. Among the thinkers who directly influenced him, Hume was the most important man. His research of sympathy and the character of combining thevirtues with the economic factors of society, was wholly inherited anddeveloped by Smith. Hutcheson’s direct teaching and ideas of moral sentiments directly stimulated Smith’ s thinking and writing of the questions of moral sentiments. Mandeville’ s extreme ideas and speeches about "Private Vices, Public Benefits"aroused his thinking and explanations about the ethical values of exchange of commodity and division of labour and invisible hand.The creativity of this dissertation mainly lies in that i sum up Smith’s resolutions to "the Adam Smith Problem" from his writings and take his grasp about the relation between economy and ethic, economics and ethics as the startpoint of summarizing his thoughts of eco-momic ethic. This paper thinks either this or that opinion of the Adam Smith Problem only catches sight of one side of Smith’ s contradictory grasps of the relation between economy and ethic, economics and ethics. Within his heart or at the level of his subconsciousness, Smith had already formed his resolutions to the Adam Smith Problem, these are that, in the one hand, he let moral restraint formed by spectators’ sympathizing to limit people’s motives from their self - interests within the extent of not injuring others, and thus gave altruistic actions much space of development, and harmonized the relation between economy and ethics, egoism and altruism of humanity through the process of valuing and sympathizing among people. On the other hand, he explained individual actions from self ?interest to produce automatically beneficial results for others in the systematic level by the market mechanism of Invisible Hand,Thereby resolved the contradiction of self - interest and altruism. At the same time, we may examine the Adam Smith Problem from the standpoint of sociology, take it as a category of relationship which includes the relation between economy and ethic, e-conomics and ethics in the course of realistic development and academic ideas. We can find that this problem shows off a dialectical course of movement.Foil wing his opinions of the relation between economy and ethic,economics and ethics, he transformed the cent

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