After Adam Smith: A Century of Transformation in Politics and Political Economy

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The relation of this to the interface of economics and politics is not clear to this reader. However, an exception occurred when colonies, and government policies toward colonies, were debated as an antidote to the steady state.

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Provocatively, this chapter closes with an interpretation of neoclassical economics as the victory of a sort of utopianism, in which competitive efficiency defines the best world subject to constraints imposed by the status quo, which lie outside economics of course. As noted, the authors compare classical economics as much to neoclassical economics at its endpoint as to Adam Smith at the starting point.

Ironically, according to the authors, neoclassical economics reflected Utilitarian philosophy more than the actual classical economics. Neoclassical economics reduced a variety of classical questions by considering them in merely two dimensions? This, argue the authors, destroyed the interplay of economics and politics by its narrow focus on the self-oriented individual. In short, this book provides a striking perspective on classical political economy.

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The reader will benefit from some prior familiarity with Smith, Malthus, Ricardo and J. Mill, along with the Utilitarians. Some digression from the main thread may be forgiven as it always explores interesting concepts.


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The book makes only rare references to American thinkers, some of whom could have added a dimension lacking among the British authors. Alexander Hamilton, for example, clearly possessed a philosophy of politics and government informed by economic ideas and pragmatic financial experience; and his outlook clearly differed from that of the major British figures. In addition, nineteenth-century American thinkers often provided a religious interpretation to their economic and political ideas, which could have provided a welcome counterpoint to the predominantly secular outlook of the British classical economists considered.

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POLITICAL THEORY - Adam Smith

Murray Milgate and Shannon C. Stimson, After Adam Smith: Farhad Rassekh University of Hartford. By exploring how questions Smith had originally grappled with were recast as the economy and the principles of political economy altered during the nineteenth century, this book demonstrates that we are as much the heirs of later images of Smith as we are of Smith himself.

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After Adam Smith: A Century of Transformation in Politics and Political Economy

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