Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

Differences: Smith and Hume on the military in a commercial society

Schumacher Reinhard, Universität Potsdam
Paganelli Maria Pia , Trinity University

Adam Smith and David Hume are often read as if they wrote in unison. Instead, they often differ from each other. They are both strong defenders of commercial societies, but while Smith claims that wars in a commercial age arise from the rapacity of merchants and manufacturers demanding monopolistic markets, Hume does not see different motivations for war over time. Smith supports a standing army; Hume a militia. Hume approves of debt financing wars, as done in the past; Smith fears the escalating debt caused by military expenses. Contrary to how they are often portrayed, we show that Smith and Hume are thus quite apart, at least in their military views.


Keywords: David Hume, Adam Smith, commerce, trade and conflict, commercial peace, doux commerc

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