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Title: The ethics of liberal market governance : Adam Smith and the constitution of financial market agency
Author: Clarke, Chris D.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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In this thesis I provide a historicised account of the work of Adam Smith in order to reveal the essential variety of viable ethico-political commitments in liberal political economy and International Political Economy (IPE). Specifically, I draw on Quentin Skinner’s approach to intellectual history in order to engage with the thought of Smith. I show how existing readings of Smith in IPE on the whole tend to fail some of Skinner's most basic methodological principles for interpreting past texts, which is problematic for IPE scholars because it reveals the distinctly 'economistic' historiography of Smith that dominates the subject field. I offer a way of escaping the limitations of the prevailing economistic historiography through providing a sustained engagement with his actual texts as read in context. In so doing, I present a novel account of Smith for IPE which emphasises the crucial role of the concept of the 'sympathy procedure' in his work, through such a mechanism people learn how to express fellow-feeling within their market-bound relationships. I argue that this recovery provides a critical lens through which to interrogate the ethics of liberal market governance today, one which animates an alternative to economistic understandings of market-oriented behaviour. Following Skinner, I do not propose a direct 'application' of a Smithian perspective, but instead use it as part of a pragmatically inspired study to reveal the historical contingency of some of the most deeply held views about subjecthood as manifested under liberal market governance today. This enables me in the empirical parts of my thesis to reflect on competing discourses of the global financial crisis at the regulatory and everyday level of global finance via a 'sympathy perspective'. I argue that through such an engagement Smith's sympathy procedure can produce novel ways of subverting the ethics of global finance as currently constituted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HB Economic Theory