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The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy) First Edition Edition
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The following general conclusions are arrived at .First,Smith never intended to break ethics and moral philosophy away from political economy and form economics as a separate field.There is no normative versus positive economics question for Smith.It is Jeremy Bentham who attempted,successfully, to remove ethics and morals from political economy and base economics on Benthamite Utilitarianism alone.Modern (Benthamite Utilitarian) economics is exactly the opposite of what Smith intended.Second,there is no Adam Smith problem at all.The alleged conflict between the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments is due strictly to an attempt by the economics profession to try to read into Smith their own biased Benthamite Utilitarian decision making calculus which Smith completely rejected.Finally,Smith's concepts of sympathy,an impartial spectator as a stand in for one's conscience,the importance of rules,and last, but not least,the emphasis on virtue,shows that the claims, that Smith meant by self interest greed,avarice,or selfishness have no foundation in any thing written by Smith in his life time.Self interest represents the virtue of self love.Before you can help others you must first help yourself so that you can attain a position of wealth to help others.Read more ›