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Is Adam Smith Liberal?

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  • Elias L. Khalil

Abstract

Smith's theory of authority is nonliberal both in the classical liberal sense of Locke and Buchanan and in the social liberal sense of Bentham and Marx. Smith distinguishes civil contract from political contract: While the state protects rights à la civil contract, its differentia specifica is the political contract, which involves authority and allegiance. Allegiance is neither an involuntary act nor the product of choice à la civil contract. Allegiance characterizes the enlistment of low-rank agents in the service of high-rank agents whose station is desired. For Smith, admiration of the powerful is the origin of political order which is a nonliberal view.

Suggested Citation

  • Elias L. Khalil, 2002. "Is Adam Smith Liberal?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(4), pages 664-664, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200212)158:4_664:iasl_2.0.tx_2-o
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David A. Reisman, 1998. "Adam Smith on Market and State," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 154(2), pages 357-357, June.
    2. Keith Tribe, 1999. "Adam Smith: Critical Theorist?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 609-632, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Khalil, Elias L., 2011. "The mirror neuron paradox: How far is understanding from mimicking?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 86-96, January.
    2. B. Nooteboom, 2007. "Transaction Costs, Innovation and Learning," Chapters,in: Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics, chapter 63 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Nooteboom, B., 2005. "Elements of a Cognitive Theory of the Firm," Discussion Paper 2005-46, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:223-240 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology

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