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Individual and Self-Interest in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations

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  • Stefano FIORI

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Abstract

The aim of this essay is to describe the concept of self-interest and show how it relates to the idea of the individual as an economic agent, focusing only on Smith's Wealth of Nations. Self-interest is analysed from three different perspectives that highlight its conceptual complexity. The implication of the analysis is that modification must be made to the view that self-interest is a homogeneous and transparent principle, able to guide individuals' actions, and characterized by a set of features commonly shared by the majority.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano FIORI, 2005. "Individual and Self-Interest in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 49, pages 19-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2005:i:49:p:19-31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    4. Olivier Godard, 1990. "Environnement, modes de coordination et systèmes de légitimité : analyse de la catégorie de patrimoine naturel," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 41(2), pages 215-242.
    5. Jean-Charles Hourcade & Emeric Fortin, 2000. "Impact economique des politiques climatiques : des controverses aux enjeux de coordination," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 82, pages 45-74.
    6. Olivier Barreteau, 2003. "The Joint Use of Role-Playing Games and Models Regarding Negotiation Processes: Characterization of Associations," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(2), pages 1-3.
    7. Claude Henry, 1984. "La microéconomie comme langage et enjeu de négociations," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(1), pages 177-198.
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    More about this item

    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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