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Adam Smith, Radical and EgalitarianAn Interpretation for the 21st Century$
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Iain McLean

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623525

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623525.001.0001

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Merriment and Diversion: Smith on Public Finance and Public Choice

Merriment and Diversion: Smith on Public Finance and Public Choice

(p.60) 4 Merriment and Diversion: Smith on Public Finance and Public Choice
Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian

Iain McLean

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter investigates where Adam Smith thought the invisible hand worked benignly in the economy, and where it failed to overcome the visible hands of meddling politicians and economic agents. The Wealth of Nations is a treatise on economic theory and an economist's advice on public policy. Smith's perspective on Union for Britain and Ireland, and on economic growth, derives from the primacy that Inquiry into…the Wealth of Nations gives to the division of labour. Smith's view of Arms came as a severe disappointment to the other members of the. His discussion of taxation and public expenditure is one of the finest parts of Wealth of Nations. Economics is a radically egalitarian discipline in Smith's hands. Distinctions of status and power only block liberty and economic growth. Merriment and diversion may cloak naked self-interest.

Keywords:   merriment, diversion, Adam Smith, economy, Wealth of Nations, economic theory, public policy, Arms

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