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Adam Smith’s Pragmatic Liberalism

The Science of Welfare

Authors: Hill, Lisa Ellen

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  • Shows that Smith had a coherent approach to politics and that he exerted considerable influence over government policy
  • Contends that Smith was far more pragmatic and less ideological in his approach to governing than is commonly thought
  • Argues that Smith was predominantly concerned with practical outcomes that served the welfare of everyone, especially the poor and ‘middling’ classes
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eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-19337-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-19336-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Adam Smith is commonly conceived as either an economist or a moral philosopher so his importance as a political thinker has been somewhat neglected and, at times, even denied. This book reveals the integrated, deeply political project that lies at the heart of Smith’s thought, showing both the breadth and novelty of Smith’s approach to political thought. A key argument running through the book is that attempts to locate Smith on the left-right spectrum (however that was interpreted in the eighteenth century) are mistaken: his position was ultimately dictated by his social scientific and economic thought rather than by ideology or principle. Through examining Smith’s political interests and positions, this book reveals that apparent tensions in Smith's thought are generally a function of his willingness to abandon, not only proto-liberal principles, but even the principles of his own social science when the achievement of good outcomes was at stake. Despite the common perception, negative liberty was not the be-all and end-all for Smith; rather, welfare was his main concern and he should therefore be understood as a thinker just as interested in what we would now call positive liberty. The book will uniquely show that Smith’s approach was basically coherent, not muddled, ad hoc, or ‘full of slips’; in other words, that it is a system unified by his social science and his practical desire to maximise welfare. 

About the authors

Lisa Hill is Professor of Politics and International Studies at University of Adelaide, Australia.  

Reviews

“Lisa Hill’s engaging and compelling study  will be essential reading for all those eager to go beyond caricatures of Smith as an ideologue, and should do much to help bring about a new appreciation of Smith the ‘political realist’ who not only understood the constraints of ‘real-world’ politics, but also sought to solve ‘real-world’ problems.” (Ryan Patrick Hanley, Professor, Political Science, Boston University, USA)

“Lisa Hill presents a new image of Adam Smith as a political thinker: less radical and less ideological in his defense of liberalism than many have thought, more pragmatic and concerned with the ordinary peoples’ welfare and happiness than libertarians would have liked him to be. She shows us a political thinker as important today as he was in his own time.” (Christel Fricke, Professor, Philosophy, University of Oslo, Norway)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-19337-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-19336-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Adam Smith’s Pragmatic Liberalism
Book Subtitle
The Science of Welfare
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-19337-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-19337-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-19336-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 237
Topics