Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought

Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations

The Discovery of Capitalism and Its Limits

Authors: Diatkine, Daniel

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  • Provides historical context for Adam Smith’s work to enable a cohesive analysis of his writing.
  • Situates Adam Smith’s ideas alongside his philosophical and political positions.
  • Utilises archival research and findings.
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About this book

This book examines the work of Adam Smith and his interest in the science of the legislator. Smith’s criticism of the mercantile system and the political dimension of capitalism is discussed, alongside insight into what institutions he saw as necessary to transform the mercantile system into a system of natural freedom. Through insights into Smith’s analysis of the political threats of capital accumulation and the growth of inequality, the point at which he discovered capitalism is highlighted.

This book aims to explore Smith’s belief set out in The Wealth of Nations that the mercantile system was a viable, if dangerous, economic model. It is relevant to students and researchers interested in the history of economic thought.

About the authors

Daniel Diatkine is Emeritus Professor for economics at the University of Paris-Saclay and the University of Évry.

Reviews

"With an unsurpassed mastery of Adam Smith’s work Daniel Diatkine has written an important revisionist interpretation. By a determined concentration on the problems Smith himself saw and tried to solve, rather than the problems we may have wanted him to see and solve, Diatkine is able to set aside a good deal of the anachronism that still distorts our understanding of the Scottish thinker. In particular, Diatkine re-balances the dangers and opportunities that Smith saw in the economic situation of “natural liberty” that became possible after the Revolution of 1688, stressing the force of Smith’s criticism of the “mercantile system”. Here a striking contribution is Diatkine’s focus on class as an important factor in Smith’s analysis of the detrimental role of the people who wielded capital. The book offers a well-rounded presentation of the philosophical foundations of Smith’s economic ideas." (--Prof. Knud Haakonssen, University of Saint Andrews, U.K.)

"This powerful and lucid book frees Smith's thought from common misrepresentations and revives his original intent." (--Prof. Laurent Jaffro, Panthéon-Sorbonne University, France.)

"Diatkine’s impressive work addresses multiple Adam Smith problems: how Smith’s  impartial spectator and our love of system and order, transformed Aristotle’s  chrematistic concerns into the beneficial desire to accumulate capital;  solved Hume’s puzzlement why we obey political (and economic) contracts; both ultimately generating economic wealth but under the oppressive mercantilist system; necessitating its replacement with Smith’s alternative system of natural liberty – thereby generating new theoretical and practical problems. Here is a true tour de force." (--Spencer J. Pack, Connecticut College, USA)

“Diatkine combines intelligent textual analysis and deep knowledge of the historical and cultural context to offer new perspectives on the most famous economic work of all time.” (--Prof Annalisa Rosselli, Università degli studi di Roma « Tor Vergata », Italy.)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $109.00
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-81600-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $139.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-81599-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations
Book Subtitle
The Discovery of Capitalism and Its Limits
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-81600-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-81600-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-81599-8
Series ISSN
2662-6578
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 258
Number of Illustrations
3 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
Topics