Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective

Liberty and Good Government in Adam Smith

Silvestri Paolo, University of Catania
Walraevens Benoît, Normandie Univ, UNICAEN, CNRS, CREM, 14000 Caen, France

What does Adam Smith mean by ‘good government’? How is it related to Smith’s system of natural liberty? No extensive or specific treatment of these hermeneutical issues has been given in Smith’s scholarship. We show how answering these questions is fundamental to having a new and different interpretation of the various links between the legal, political, ethical and economic aspects of Adam Smith’s reflection. The great theme of good government, which runs through the history of political-legal thought, if read in relation to the system of natural liberty, suggests the possibility of reopening a historiographical revision of the thought of the father of ‘Political Economic’, where the adjective ‘political’, in the light of our interpretative hypotheses, takes on a new significance and casts light on Smith’s unfinished project of new science of society.


Keywords: Mixed Government, Rule of law, Legislator, System of Natural Liberty, Political Economy

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