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Adam Smith'S Optimistic Teleological View Of History


  • Alvey, James E.


Adam Smith's four-stage theory provides the framework for his writings on history. The fourth stage is the commercial epoch; the culmination of history in this stage is a key component in the conventional interpretation of Adam Smith as a prophet of commercialism. In two historical case studies Smith shows the capacity of commercial society to regenerate itself. This potent capacity suggests that commercial society is inevitable. At a certain point in time it also overcomes the major obstacles to its permanence. Smith's philosophy of history anticipates the end of history views of Kant and Hegel.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvey, James E., 2003. "Adam Smith'S Optimistic Teleological View Of History," Discussion Papers 23708, Massey University, Department of Applied and International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:masddp:23708
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.23708

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rashid, Salim, 1992. "The Wealth of Nations and Historical Facts," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 225-243, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kremser Christian E. W., 2018. "Positive Wirtschaftsanalyse oder normativer Wirtschaftsentwurf?: Adam Smiths kommerzielle Gesellschaft als wirtschaftspolitische Utopie," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 67(2), pages 219-245, August.
    2. Engelbrecht, Hans-Jurgen & Xayavong, Vilaphonh, 2004. "Information And Communication Technology And New Zealand'S Productivity Malaise: An Industry-Level Study," Discussion Papers 23698, Massey University, Department of Applied and International Economics.

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