Adam Smith’s Newtonianism
Smith was certainly influenced by Newton’s analytic-synthetic method, and by his notion of “principle”. Nonetheless, in many fields of Smith’s inquiry he introduced elements which led him far from the Newtonian perspective. The present essay analyzes how historical dimensions, contingencies, institutions and conflicting human inclinations intervene in Smith’s discourse explaining economic systems. From this perspective, the intellectual Newtonian horizon seems to be profoundly modified. Finally, the paper focuses on how, in Smith’s view, institutions determine “unintended outcomes”, sometimes opposed to those of the market, when the reasons for their emergence have ceased but nevertheless persist over time. In this sense, the “invisible hand” is not only the result of the behaviour of myopic individuals trying to improve their condition, but also the outcome of the work of institutions which operate as structures autonomous with respect to individuals.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2010|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Lungo Dora Siena 100, I-10153 Torino|
Phone: +39 011670 4406
Fax: +39 011670 3895
Web page: http://www.unito.it/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uto:dipeco:201006. 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: (Piero Cavaleri)or (Marina Grazioli)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.