Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Higher and lower virtues in commercial society: Adam Smith and motivation crowding out

Contents:

Author Info

  • Lisa Herzog

    ()
    (New College, Oxford, UK)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Motivation crowding out can lead to a reduction of 'higher' virtues, such as altruism or public spirit, in market contexts. This article discusses the role of virtue in the moral and economic theory of Adam Smith. It argues that because Smith's account of commercial society is based on 'lower' virtue, 'higher' virtue has a precarious place in it; this phenomenon is structurally similar to motivation crowding out. The article analyzes and systematizes the ways in which Smith builds on 'contrivances of nature' in order to solve the problems of limited self-command and limited knowledge. As recent research has shown, a clear separation of different social spheres can help to reduce the risk of motivation crowding out and preserve a place for 'higher virtue' in commercial society. The conclusion reflects on the performative power of economics, arguing that the one-sided focus on models of 'economic man' should be embedded in a larger context.

    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://ppe.sagepub.com/content/10/4/370.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by in its journal Politics, Philosophy & Economics.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 370-395

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:10:y:2011:i:4:p:370-395

    Contact details of provider:

    Related research

    Keywords: Adam Smith; virtue; unintended consequences; motivation crowding out;

    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:sae:pophec:v:10:y:2011:i:4:p:370-395. 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: (SAGE Publications).

    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.