Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society by Jerry Z. MullerAdam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society by Jerry Z. Muller

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

byJerry Z. Muller

Paperback | July 23, 1995

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Counter to the popular impression that Adam Smith was a champion of selfishness and greed, Jerry Muller shows that the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations maintained that markets served to promote the well-being of the populace and that government must intervene to counteract the negative effects of the pursuit of self-interest. Smith's analysis went beyond economics to embrace a larger "civilizing project" designed to create a more decent society.

Jerry Z. Muller is Associate Professor of History at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Other God That Failed: Hans Freyer and the Deradicalization of German Conservatism (Princeton).
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Title:Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent SocietyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:263 pagesPublished:July 23, 1995Publisher:Princeton University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691001618

ISBN - 13:9780691001616

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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


From Our Editors

'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.

Editorial Reviews

"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