Measuring “The Happiness of Nations”: The Conundrum of Adam Smith's “Real Measure of Exchangeable Value”
Based on an appraisal of Smith's (nonutilitarian) understanding of happiness in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, this article considers the possible origin, meaning, and fate of the “real measure” qua index of social happiness/welfare. It is suggested that the original welfare usage was a measure of the happiness of laborers in terms of their “sacrifice” to obtain the necessaries and conveniences of life. However, although the welfare origins of the measure are discernable in The Wealth of Nations, it is argued that the real measure had come to be used by Smith for purposes that were related only indirectly, if at all, to the measurement of happiness/welfare. The article suggests reasons for Smith's abandonment of a welfare role for the standard, including the possibility that he had made a tactical decision to downplay his welfare concerns
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (Fall)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?viewby=journal&productid=45614
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:3:p:403-424. 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: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.