Profits, Priests, and Princes: Adam Smith?s Emancipation of Economics from Politics and Religion
Stanford University Press, 1993 - 345 páginas
In launching modern economics, Adam Smith paved the way for laissez-faire capitalism, Marxism, and contemporary social science. This book scrutinizes Smith's disparagement of politics and religion to illuminate the subtlety of his rhetoric, the depth of his thought, and the ultimate shortcomings of his project.
The author analyzes Smith's ideas on government, justice, human psychology, and international relations, stressing Smith's efforts to elevate wealth at the expense of citizenship and to replace normative political philosophy with historical theorizing and empirical modeling that emphasize economic causes. The book also provides the most comprehensive interpretation available of Smith's views on religion, examining the discrepancies between The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments while demonstrating Smith's intransigent rejection of heaven, hell, Providence, Jesus, eschatology, prophecy, revelation, and theocracy.
Throughout, the author combats superficial interpretations of Smith by revealing the complexity of his views on a variety of subjects: the deceptive allure of technology, wealth, power, and empire; the relationship between political and economic freedom; the impact of economic progress on warfare; the quarrel between ancients and moderns; the difficulties posed to the citizen by the burgeoning complexity of society; the differences between human wisdom, divine wisdom, and the wisdom of nature; the obstacles to separating church and state; and the social and psychological roots of religion. The concluding chapter appraises the demise of communism in light of the Marxian emancipation of economics from politics and religion.
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