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The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment$
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Christopher J. Berry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748645329

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645329.001.0001

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. Markets, Law and Politics

. Markets, Law and Politics

Chapter:
(p.90) 4. Markets, Law and Politics
Source:
The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment
Author(s):

Christopher J. Berry

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645329.003.0004

At the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment ‘idea’ of a commercial society is a series of conceptual connections: between, firstly, the impersonality of commercial exchange and the rule of law as ‘no respecter of persons’ and between, secondly, commercial inter-dependence and legal/political independence from the authority of specified individuals. These connections explain why justice has such a central place in the Scots’ writings. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how/why the implementation of justice is seen as a key task of a government and by extension what other functions government can properly play in a commercial society (a matter of contemporary debate).

Keywords:   Law, Justice, Politics, Exchange, Inter-dependence

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