Moralism In Adam Smith's The Wealth Of Nations

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In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith describes a modern and efficient economy as one in which citizens have specialized skills that they are able to exchange for goods and services from others. Smith’s writings on this topic contributed to his title as the “Father of Modern Economics”, however, in addition to economics, Smith also wrote extensively about morality. The Theory of Moral Sentiments begins with a description of sympathy and how it contributes to a morally just society. It is evident from these two works that Smith aimed for society to have relatively unified moral and economic visions. However, modern society has not lived up to the standards put forth by Smith, largely because his ideas were questioned and then pushed aside through the adoption of ethics resembling the Austrian school of thought as presented by F. A. Hayek. While the …show more content…
2). For Smith, self-interest was distinct from what we think of as selfishness. Self-interest was free of negative connotations relating to greed and maliciousness, but was rather portrayed as the driving force for trade and was thus beneficial to society. Hayek takes this assumption further in by stating that because our society has evolved on principles of self-interest, altruism, in the sense of intentionally doing serving the needs of another is, actually hinders the development of a “more extensive order” (Hayek, 81). This bold assumption is rooted in Hayek’s belief that societies evolved by the inheritance and adherence to ancient traditions, which we had no intention of creating. Therefore, when one attempts to make an order more altruistic, they are actually making it less efficient by not adhering to the existing

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