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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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The Invisible Hand and the Helping Hand

The Invisible Hand and the Helping Hand

(p.82) 5 The Invisible Hand and the Helping Hand
Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian

Iain McLean

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores some of the ‘left-wing’ credentials of Adam Smith's maxims of taxation, even though they are a part of his thought that may seem to bring more comfort to the contemporary Right than Left. It is noted that the strong version of the Adam Smith Problem is certainly bogus. Smith does not ‘recommend’ sympathy in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and he most certainly does not ‘recommend’ selfishness in Inquiry into…the Wealth of Nations. The Theory of Moral Sentiments mostly argues for the spontaneous emergence of moral codes. The main public institution that Smith discusses is education. Smith suggested that ground-rents should be taxed more heavily than other sources of income. It is apparent that a great deal of the philosophy and economics of Adam Smith is important to policy-making in the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   taxation, Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Wealth of Nations, income, philosophy, economics, policy-making

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