Adam’s Smith’s Concept of a Great Society and its Timeliness

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Abstract

The article aims to present the concepts of Adam Smith which are important considering the current disputes over liberalism, as well as the challenge that is the maintenance of the world’s economic order. Firstly, the article analyses the significance of the division of labour which is perceived as a fundamental premise for transitioning from small communities and face-to-face exchanges to the impersonal exchange and the expanded social order in which relations with strangers become meaningful. Secondly, the present work indicates that Smith did not neglect the matter of justice when proclaiming the need for freedom. He believed that efficient functioning of the market depends on the political system and a man’s ethical system, and his criticism of interventionism was not directed against the state as an institution co-creating the social order, but against the act of granting special privileges to certain interest groups. Thirdly, the article refers to the concept of coordination described by Scottish moral philosophers and the so-called Smith Problem. In this context, the article presents arguments against the assumption that John Nash’s theory provided proof of the erroneous nature of Adam Smith’s concepts. Arguments in favour of the timelessness of the economic philosophy of the father of economics are also drawn from Vernon Smith’s experimental economy and the research of evolutionary psychologists.

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