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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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. The Idea of a Commercial Society

. The Idea of a Commercial Society

(p.194) 7. The Idea of a Commercial Society
The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment

Christopher J. Berry

Edinburgh University Press

The core of the Scots’ idea of a commercial society is that is a ‘society’ not a polity or clan, even though it contains governments and families. These latter two are component parts of the interlocking set of institutions, behaviour and values that constitute a ‘society’ Compared to their contemporaries the Scots develop a more coherent notion of commerce as permeating all social institutions. Its institutions form an ideal-typical whole that is superior to earlier social formations; it is an advance on a society of land-owners, pastoralists and hunters and also from mercantile republics. The Scots see the world of commerce as a temporal formation and though there has been progress are they are acutely sensitive that it is not some perfect functioning system.

Keywords:   Commerce, Society, Progress, Institutions

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