Smith's theory of actions and the moral significance of unintended consequences
An important clue to the ambiguity in Smith's attitudes towards commercial society may lie in his disaffection with natural distributions; with distributions based on unintended consequences. The absence of proportionality between motives and outcomes dooms the morality of commercial society, not the mere absence of an ethical dimension to human character. Through the analysis of actions, we find correspondence between the three economic states of the Wealth of Nations and the three social states of the Theory of Moral Sentiments. Thus, re-distribution is important in the moral evaluation of commercial systems. Unintended consequences are neither a source of moral strength nor a safeguard against injustice.
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): 15 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/REJH20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/REJH20|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:15:y:2008:i:3:p:401-432. 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: (Michael McNulty)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.