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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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Adam Smith Today

Adam Smith Today

(p.120) 7 Adam Smith Today
Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian

Iain McLean

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explains that Adam Smith was in favour of liberty, of equality and of fraternity. It evaluates the uncanny similarities between the ideas of Adam Smith and those of Gordon Brown. Smith's attitude to international trade was highly controversial. His economic and social liberalism are then discussed. His radical egalitarianism derives from his acceptance of half the heritage of Andrew Melvill combined with his contempt for the other half. He also acknowledged that fraternity has a down side. Unlike the Adam Smith Institute, the (John) Smith Institute does not fill its website with quotations from Adam Smith, since that is not its purpose. Smith was quite cynical about politics. There is a particular affinity between Smith's and Brown's views on international trade and poverty. Taking Smith's work as a whole, it is thought that he can only be classed as an egalitarian and left-wing philosopher.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, liberty, equality, fraternity, Gordon Brown, economic liberalism, social liberalism, radical egalitarianism, international trade, poverty

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