adam smith Essay

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Adam Smith And Jean Jacques Rousseau ADAM SMITH AND JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU. Adam Smith(1723-1790) and Jean Jacques Rousseau(1712-1770) each provide their own distinctive social thought. Smith, political economist and moral philosopher, is regarded as the father of modern economics. Rousseau, a Franco-Swiss social and political philosopher, combines enlightenment and semi-romantic themes in his work. Thus Smith’s work places emphasis on the relationship between economics and society, whereas, Rousseau focuses his attention on the social inequalities within society. Therefore, Smith and Rousseau, of the Scottish and Continental Enlightenment respectively, provide unique insights on their existing society. Adam Smith is one of the main…show more content…
“For Adam Smith, the development of a commercial society produced a social structure divided into three classes, landowners, capitalists, and labourers, ‘the three great constituent orders of every civilized society’”(Smith, 1998:27). Thus, Smith’s ideal society would be of people would work for themselves. He was a strong advocate for free market and posed strong opposition to the feudal system. He, along with other Enilghtenment thinkers, believed that the State had no legitmate role in the free market. Smith’s defence of the free market was tied to the belief that state interference with the market benefits the rich and hurts the poor(Lecture Notes, 2001:5). Therefore, Adam Smith’s vision of an ideal society was one in which most people are involved in independent commodity production(Lecture Notes, 2001:5). Thus for society to develop and prosper as a whole, its individual members must serve their self-interests. Jean Jacques Rousseau’s work, in contrast to Smith’s, gives attention to the social inequalities within society created by social development. Rousseau believes the social development that the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers advocate, actually create a web of problems that previously did not exist. More specifically, his work concentrates on the articificial social inequalities. “The artifical refers to the specifically socially or conventional aspects of reality – the conditions of human life that are contrived or invented by human

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