Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Measuring “The Happiness of Nations”: The Conundrum of Adam Smith's “Real Measure of Exchangeable Value”

Contents:

Author Info

  • Terry Peach
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Based on an appraisal of Smith's (nonutilitarian) understanding of happiness in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, this article considers the possible origin, meaning, and fate of the “real measure” qua index of social happiness/welfare. It is suggested that the original welfare usage was a measure of the happiness of laborers in terms of their “sacrifice” to obtain the necessaries and conveniences of life. However, although the welfare origins of the measure are discernable in The Wealth of Nations, it is argued that the real measure had come to be used by Smith for purposes that were related only indirectly, if at all, to the measurement of happiness/welfare. The article suggests reasons for Smith's abandonment of a welfare role for the standard, including the possibility that he had made a tactical decision to downplay his welfare concerns

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://hope.dukejournals.org/content/42/3/403.full.pdf+html
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Duke University Press in its journal History of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (Fall)
    Pages: 403-424

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:3:p:403-424

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Duke University Press 905 W. Main Street, Suite 18B Durham, NC 27701
    Phone: (919) 660-1800
    Fax: (919) 684-8974
    Web page: http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?viewby=journal&productid=45614

    Related research

    Keywords: Adam Smith; The Wealth of Nations; happiness;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:3:p:403-424. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.