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The Liberal World of One Classic Scholar and Social Welfare


  • Lyuben Kirev


The paper is dedicated to the 230 anniversary of the publication of Adam Smith's masterpiece The Wealth of Nations (March 1776). The object of the study is the liberal world of Smith and social welfare. His contribution as the first founder of the model of “Home Economicus” is pointed out. According to it, personal interests are the basis of the economic activity. Special attention is put on the benefits of the free foreign trade in a micro and macroeconomic context, the negative impact of monopolistic trade companies, the notion of the cosmopolitan character of the capital, justified by Smith. The role that Smith saw for the government is specified. Ideas about externalities, restructuring of the natural monopolies, the government as a bad manager, developed by Smith in an embryonic form, are investigated too. Contrary to some authors, who attribute the concept of the optimal resource allocation to the neo-classics, the paper argues that elements of the idea can be traced to Smith. He deserves to be associated with the predecessors of the institutionalism. The new reading of Smith's works is not only a valuation of his merits and personality, but also an explanation of the present and viewing the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Lyuben Kirev, 2006. "The Liberal World of One Classic Scholar and Social Welfare," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 33-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:bas:econth:y:2006:i:1:p:33-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
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    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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