Re: [OPE-L] adam smith

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Oct 21 2006 - 21:24:17 EDT


Hi Dogan,
Emma Rothschild's book on Smith and Condorcet has been widely praised. Do
you have comments on it.
Congratulations on the forthcoming book.
Yours, Rakesh

> A short description of my forthcoming (December 2006) book by  I. B.
> Tauris.
> Dogan
> About the book
> This is the first scholarly work to  deal solely with the Adam Smith
> problem,
> namely the apparent contradiction  between Adam Smith's most famous works,
> "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" and  "The Nature and Causes of the Wealth
> of
> Nations". Since the 1840s scholars have  puzzled over and attempted to
> explain
> the fact that these works offer two  fundamentally different and
> contradictory
> concepts of human nature. In this  radical new approach Do an Gocmen
> argues
> that there are, indeed, two different  concepts of human nature; in "The
> Theory
> of Moral Sentiments", Smith advocates a  broad synchronization of human
> intention and behaviour under a beneficent  providence in a system of
> mutual
> sympathy, whereas "Wealth of Nations" is a  critical account of the human
> situation
> of the individual and is an egoistic  description of human beings in
> commercial
> society. Gocmen argues that Smith does  indeed put forward two different
> and
> varied ideas, arguing that the ethical  position articulated in "The
> Theory of
> Moral Sentiments" can be, and was  intended by Smith to be, applied as a
> basis for criticising the commercial  society analysed in the "Wealth of
> Nations".;Gocmen argues that this ethical  position points to the
> character of its
> ideal future replacement, that of Adam  Smith's Utopia. Gocmen therefore
> dismisses
> as short-sighted and oversimple the  common assumption that Adam Smith's
> Utopia consists merely of 'the invisible  hand', the idea that markets
> would
> regulate everything if left to their own  dynamics. This book challenges
> the
> traditional approach to Adam Smith and is the  first contribution to the
> solution of
> a long-standing debate, making it  essential reading for anyone wanting to
> understand the moral philosophy,  political economy and utopian thought of
> Adam
> Smith.
> In einer eMail vom 21.10.2006 20:35:14 Westeuropäische Sommerzeit schreibt
> sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM:
> ---  Dogan Goecmen <Dogangoecmen@AOL.COM> wrote:
>> Hi Ajit,  thank you very much for your  questions.
>> By 'market in  itself' I mean that we can develop an
>> objective understanding
>>  of market independently from what all sorts of
>> ideologies say about  and
>> ascribe  to it. I mean the question we have to pose
>>  is this: what is the nature of
>> market. Based on this objective grasp  we can then
>> judge about these ideologies
>>  whether they  are right or wrong. Market is an
>> institution where humans get
>>  in  touch with one another for a certain purpose:
>> the exchange of  commodities.
>> That  is to say that human relations on market  are
>> mediated by commodities -
>> either  directly or  indirectly by means of money.
>> So, the question what is the
>>  nature of  market changes into the question what is
>> the nature of  commodity
>> and money.The  analysis of commodity and money  must
>> then be analysed in terms of
>> human relation  because  commodities are being
>> exchanged by human beings.
>> These  questions  are profoundly posed and analysed,
>> I think, in the  first Chapter
>> of the Capital  of Marx. This is my reply to  your
>> two questions in short.
>> Thanks  again.
> ______________________
> Thanks for your reply. As you must know  Adam Smith
> considered market as part of the sphere of free
> speech. When  a buyer or a seller offers to buy or sell
> something at a price, he or she  is simultaneously
> putting forward an argument to convince the  other
> party of why it is in his or her advantage to buy or
> sell that  commodity at that price. It is part of the
> whole enlightenment program. So  I was expecting a
> little more on market than you have given and again  to
> say that "These questions  are profoundly posed and
> analysed, I  think, in the first Chapter of the Capital
> of Marx." is not an answer to  the question, why do
> you think that CAPITAL ch.1 has the best analysis  of
> it? But I can see you have your plate full and you
> need not feel  obliged to answer my questions. Cheers,
> ajit  sinha
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