Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society

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Overview

"Jerry Muller has written an extraordinarily good book on the most quoted and least read of the worldly philosophers."—Robert Heilbroner, Author of The Worldly Philosophers

"A good work of intellectual history should exemplify two qualities above all: an imagination that allows the author to 'pass over' into the horizon of his subject in order to see the world as the subject sees it; and a sympathy such as to gain a feel for the world of the subject. . . . Like Adam Smith, his subject, intellectual historian Jerry Muller exemplifies these traits to an exceptional degree."—Michael Novak, First Things

Adam Smith's Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations laid the foundation for capitalism that continues to thrive today. But rath er than the laissez faire leave it alone doctrine usually attributed to Smith, the author explores Smith's intent, revealing Smith's conviction that modern market society does not regulate itself, but requires intervention.

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Editorial Reviews

National Review
A profoundly erudite and timely study.
— John Gray
The Review of Politics
Muller's great accomplishment in this book is to present a clear, thoughtful, and engaging overview of Adam Smith's thought. He reveals Smith to be a wide-ranging and innovative thinker who formulated a comprehensive social science.
— Peter McNamara
National Review - John Gray
A profoundly erudite and timely study.
The Review of Politics - Peter McNamara
Muller's great accomplishment in this book is to present a clear, thoughtful, and engaging overview of Adam Smith's thought. He reveals Smith to be a wide-ranging and innovative thinker who formulated a comprehensive social science.
From the Publisher
"A profoundly erudite and timely study."—John Gray, National Review

"Muller's great accomplishment in this book is to present a clear, thoughtful, and engaging overview of Adam Smith's thought. He reveals Smith to be a wide-ranging and innovative thinker who formulated a comprehensive social science."—Peter McNamara, The Review of Politics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691001616
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/3/1995
  • Pages: 263
  • Sales rank: 1,022,088
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Back to Adam? 1
Pt. I Adam Smith in His Time
1 Cosmopolitan Provincial: Smith's Life and Social Milieu 15
2 Gentlemen, Consumers, and the Fiscal-Military State 28
3 Self-Love and Self-Command: The Intellectual Origins of Smith's Civilizing Project 39
Pt. II Designing the Decent Society
4 The Market: From Self-Love to Universal Opulence 63
5 The Legislator and the Merchant 77
6 Social Science as the Anticipation of the Unanticipated 84
7 Commercial Humanism: Smith's Civilizing Project 93
8 "The Impartial Spectator" 100
9 The Historical and Institutional Foundations of Commercial Society 113
10 The Moral Balance Sheet of Commercial Society 131
11 The Visible Hand of the State 140
12 Applied Policy Analysis: Smith's Sociology of Religion 154
13 "A Small Party": Moral and Political Leadership in Commercial Society 164
Pt. III From Smith's Time to Ours
14 Critics, Friendly and Unfriendly 177
15 Some Unanticipated Consequences of Smith's Rhetoric 185
16 The Timeless and the Timely 194
Notes 206
Guide to Further Reading 240
Acknowledgments 262
Index 265
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