Wealth Of Nations By Adam Smith

1574 Words7 Pages
In his book, Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith makes arguments to support free-trade. These arguments range from having to do with war, all the way to the structure of social classes. In order to assess the morality of these arguments, David Hume’s definition of morality and Kant’s definition of morality can be used. These definitions, ultimately, serve as context for Smith’s arguments, so that there is a clearer idea of whether they are moral or not. From this, modern readers of Smith’s book can better determine the positive and negative qualities of Smith’s idea of free-trade. Kant’s definition of morality contrasts with Hume’s definition. For Kant, morality is split into three categories, the analytic imperative, the hypothetical…show more content…
Smith writes that it is moral for society to have different levels of wealth based on talent and hard work. His feels that the lowest people in a free-trade society will still be better off than some top people in a non-free trade society. He mentions how a collier worker commonly earns double, and in many parts of Scotland, three times as much as common labor (Smith 1.8). In other words, the possession of a skill causes the worker to make more, since, unlike a common laborer who can easily be swapped out, a skilled laborer can only be swapped out with someone who possesses that particular skill. This discussion related to social class would be agreeable to Hume’s definition of morality. In particular, it fits into Hume’s idea of using reason to determine whether an action is moral or not. Since the worker who makes less than the skilled worker would still be able to support themselves, Hume would feel that the situation is moral. Hume ultimately would argue that as long as the person, making less, is not suffering, then the income difference is moral. Kant’s definition of morality would also agree with Smith’s discussion of social classes. This is because this discussion in Smith’s book, falls under the analytic imperative. In Kant’s definition of morality, it would be moral for people to make more because of a skill. This is because people would seek to acquire a skill, or talent if they wanted to earn more based off of
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