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Title: Adam Smith's sociological economics
Author: Reisman, David A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 0931 3546
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1972
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The study argues that Adam Smith sought to use economic forces to bring about social change. Consumer goods yield utility not in themselves but as symbols in the process of social interaction; and thus it would be meaningless to advocate economic growth to increase the supply of these symbols, particularly if economic growth altered the social structure and changed the nature of the symbols needed. Nor can growth be attributed to instinct end man's character, since character was the result of economic change as well as the cause of it. So were norms and values; having dismissed revealed religion, natural law, and an absolute standard of ethics. Smith had no choice but to approximate morality to aesthetics and science, explaining all three in terms of the propriety of habitual associations. Moreover, this perception was to be sensory, not rational or intellectual. The mind is the prisoner of the body, and the body of the situation. The only way to make such circular causation into meaningful teleology is to introduce an outside factor. To Smith this was institutional change. Economic growth was welcomed as it would liberalise the state, reduce the temporal power of aristocracy and clergy, combat "superstition" with science, encourage learning and humanitarienism, and raise, the living standards of the masses by improving their bargaining power. All of these goal could have been attained by political revolution; but Smith, fearing violence and favouring social continuity, preferred the compromise that economic and social revolution represented.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available