Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
An Age of RiskPolitics and Economy in Early Modern Britain$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Emily C. Nacol

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165103

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165103.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

Adventurous Spirits and Clamoring Sophists

Adventurous Spirits and Clamoring Sophists

Smith on the Problem of Risk in Political Economy

Chapter:
(p.98) Chapter Five Adventurous Spirits and Clamoring Sophists
Source:
An Age of Risk
Author(s):

Emily C. Nacol

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691165103.003.0005

This chapter argues that Adam Smith's moral theory and political economy confront human ambivalence about risk, by now a permanent feature of the human condition. Smith's analysis of individuals, groups, institutions, and policies leads him to find that human beings have a risk-loving side, which drives them to take chances to pursue gain, but that they also clamor to secure themselves against possible loss. How well they balance these two impulses can, Smith argues, issue in productive or dangerous approaches to risk taking. Moreover, Smith's critique of monopolies and mercantile policies depends very much on his view that traders exploit risk badly, by redistributing or jettisoning loss. Smith argues that those who pursue highly uncertain profits by taking risks in the political economy must also be willing to brook loss.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, moral theory, political economy, human ambivalence, risk taking, monopolies, mercantile policies

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.