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Luxury and Economic Development: David Hume and Adam Smith

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  • Brewer, Anthony

Abstract

David Hume thought that a taste for luxury was desirable because it promoted economic and political development (it brought down feudalism, among other things). Adam Smith's early works follow a very similar line though, unlike Hume, he saw a taste for luxury as rather contemptible despite its desirable effects. In the Wealth of Nations, however, saving is the key to growth, suggesting that spending on luxury harms growth, but Smith wanted to hang on to the arguments he had taken from Hume. This may explain a number of oddities and inconsistencies in the Wealth of Nations. Copyright 1998 by Scottish Economic Society.

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  • Brewer, Anthony, 1998. "Luxury and Economic Development: David Hume and Adam Smith," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 78-98, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:45:y:1998:i:1:p:78-98
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    Cited by:

    1. Ikeda, S., 2001. "Luxury and Wealth Accumulation," ISER Discussion Paper 0528, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    2. Shinsuke Ikeda, 2006. "Luxury And Wealth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 495-526, May.
    3. Ennio Bilancini & Simone D'Alessandro, 2005. "Functional Distribution, Land Ownership and Industrial Takeoff," Development and Comp Systems 0511018, EconWPA.
    4. Anthony Brewer, 2009. "On the Other (Invisible) Hand..," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 519-543, Fall.
    5. Drakopoulos, Stavros A. & Karayiannis, Anastassios, 2007. "The Paradox of Happiness: Evidence from the Late Pre-Classical and Classical Economic Thought," MPRA Paper 71657, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Drakopoulos, Stavros A. & Karayiannis, Anastassios, 2006. "The Conceptual Roots of Work Effort in Pre-classical and Classical Economic Thought," MPRA Paper 14050, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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