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O pioneirismo de Smith


  • Mazzucchelli, Frederico Mathias


This article discusses the intellectual and historic circumstances of Smith´s major work. The principle of the "invisible hand" represents a synthesis between the methodological individualism (typically Anglo-Saxon) and the naturalistic view of society (the successor of rationalism): the free exercise of individual instincts (the propensity to exchange) should produce a prosperous and harmonious order, which would correspond to a "natural" impulse towards life in society. This synthesis, however, was only possible because the sociability relations had become predominantly mercantile (in other words, capitalistic). When Smith wrote The wealth of nations, economy was no longer a "slave" of politics: regulation rules were already strictly economic. The "market enigma" that Smith, as a pioneer, is willing to solve, brings with it the very constitution of economics as an independent discipline. Two divergent interpretative trends have developed from Smith´s theory: one, founded on the logic of individual maximization, seeks to refine the premises and radicalize the effectiveness of the "invisible hand". The other, based on its conceptual framework, its perception of the contradictory interests of social classes and its prospective view of capital accumulation will build the Classical Political Economy and its critique.

Suggested Citation

  • Mazzucchelli, Frederico Mathias, 2002. "O pioneirismo de Smith," Revista Economia e Sociedade, Instituto de Economia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), vol. 18, pages 1-8, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:euc:ancoec:v:18:y:2002:p:185-192

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    Smith; Adam; 1723-1790; Classical political economy.;

    JEL classification:

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


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