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Friends of the Unrighteous MammonNorthern Christians and Market Capitalism, 1815-1860$
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Stewart Davenport

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226137063

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226137087.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 08 April 2020

Originally Sinful: “Das Adam Smith Problem” and the “Dismal Science”

Originally Sinful: “Das Adam Smith Problem” and the “Dismal Science”

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter One Originally Sinful: “Das Adam Smith Problem” and the “Dismal Science
Source:
Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226137087.003.0002

When it came to the questionable morality of Adam Smith's economic system, the central problem called “Das Adam Smith Problem” was that Smith had written two influential books and not one. Another way of stating the problem is simply to ask where morality is in The Wealth of Nations, or what kind of morality it presupposed and possibly sanctioned. The answers to the questions posed by “Das Adam Smith Problem” are various and all too often depend on whether the answerer was (or is) a fan of market capitalism. Those who admire Smith and the world that he helped create insist that there never was any “Das Adam Smith Problem” in the first place. Political economy, they argue, simply is moral philosophy and reflects, even if “invisibly,” the values and assumptions of this earlier discipline from which it emerged.

Keywords:   morality, Adam Smith, economic system, Adam Smith Problem, political economy, moral philosophy, capitalism

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