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Adam Smith

Adam Smith

Scottish moral philosopher and political economist

Smith Adam (baptized 5.6.1723, Cercauldee - 17.7.1790, Edinburgh), Scottish philosopher and economist, progenitor of classical political economy. The son of a customs official. He studied at the University of Glasgow (1737-40), where he was influenced by F. Hutcheson, and at Oxford (1740-46). He lectured at the University of Edinburgh in 1748-50, and was professor at the University of Glasgow (1751-63), where he taught moral philosophy, which included natural theology, ethics, law, and politics, including political economy. From about 1750 he became close with D. Dukhovny. In 1750 he became close with D. Hume, who had a great influence on him. In 1764-66 in France, he met physiocrats F. Kene, A. R. J. Turgot, philosophers J. D'Alamber, P. A. Galbach, C. A. Helvetius, and others. Since 1778 he was a customs commissioner in Edinburgh.

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (vol. 1-2, 1759; translated 1868, 1997), S., sharing the concept of moral feeling of A. Shaftesbury, F. Hutcheson and D. Hume, deduced morality from the inherent human sense of "sympathy" - the ability to empathize, to share the feelings of other people. The sense of sympathy, based on the ability to imagine oneself in the position of an outsider, includes man in social connections. The universal rules of morality emerge from moral feelings through the mechanisms of social approval or disapproval of certain actions.

In An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, vol. 1-2, 1776; Russian translations, vols. 1-4, 1802-06, new translations 1962, 1993) - the first systematic doctrine of economics - S., criticizing mercantilism, considered the source of the wealth of nations as productive labor, which creates material supplies (value). Non-productive labor (services) does not participate in the increase of wealth. The ideal mechanism for regulating the economy is the market, which does not require government intervention. The degree of division of labor, in which S. saw the main condition for productivity growth, depends directly on the size of the market. Economic relations are based on people's desire for their own benefit and their inclination to exchange. Since in the market people reach their interests only by satisfying the needs of others, egoism does not hinder, but contributes to the growth of the general welfare (the concept of the "invisible hand"). He criticized the utility-based theory of value ("Adam Smith's paradox") and developed the cost theory. In a primitive society value is determined by labor costs, in a developed society it is made up of the natural rate of wages, profits, and rents. He divided capital into fixed capital, which did not change its form in the process of production, and circulating capital, which changed its form or owner, the latter being given the leading role in the formation of profit. He saw the task of distribution in increasing the share of capital in the final product at the expense of consumption ("the ideal of thrift"), because it is from this capital that production labor is paid. He defended the principles of economic liberalism. He saw the role of the state in ensuring security, the rule of law and the development of education.


In 1751, Smith earned a professorship at Glasgow University teaching logic courses, and in 1752, he was elected a member of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, having been introduced to the society by Lord Kames
Smith began delivering public lectures in 1748 at the University of Edinburgh, sponsored by the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh under the patronage of Lord Kames
He left Oxford University in 1746, before his scholarship ended.
In 1740, he was the graduate scholar presented to undertake postgraduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford, under the Snell Exhibition
June 5, 1723
Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy.


Further Resources


Adam Smith


Adam Smith | Biography, Books, Capitalism, Invisible Hand, & Facts


Adam Smith: The Grandfather Of Economics


July 2, 2020


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