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'Universal opulence': Adam Smith on technical progress and real wages


  • Tony Aspromourgos


This paper first considers the character of Smith's account of division of labour as a theory of technical progress. In so far as Smith's account does entail a vision of liberal or competitive commercial society as exhibiting ongoing technical progress, this must have implications for income distribution through time. The paper therefore also considers, in particular, Smith's conception of the course of real wages in competitive commercial society, and how this connects with his view of technical progress. A reconciliation of Smith's theory of real wages and his prediction of high and rising real wages over time is suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Tony Aspromourgos, 2010. "'Universal opulence': Adam Smith on technical progress and real wages," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 1169-1182.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:17:y:2010:i:5:p:1169-1182
    DOI: 10.1080/09672567.2010.522241

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