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Self-Regulation and Human ProgressHow Society Gains When We Govern Less$
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Evan Osborne

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796446

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796446.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2019

A Better Way Forward

A Better Way Forward

Self-Regulating Socioeconomics

Chapter:
(p.83) Chapter 5 A Better Way Forward
Source:
Self-Regulation and Human Progress
Author(s):

Evan Osborne

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804796446.003.0005

There is a long history of condemning merchants as agents of social disorder and little advocacy of free commerce as essential to ensure the proper allocation of efforts across economic activities and promote socioeconomic improvements. This began to change with both Aquinas and thinkers in the late Renaissance in Spain asking different questions about how producers could be induced to provide goods in a way that benefits society. The contributions of Bernard Mandeville, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and, Adam Smith are sketched. By the end of the nineteenth century, much of the general public and even political leaders in Europe and North America believed in the virtues of the self-regulating socioeconomy. Through colonialism and observation of the “modern” West’s seemingly obvious successes, people and societies around the world began in ever-larger numbers to believe as well. But such widespread confidence was not to last.

Keywords:   greed, self-interest, free market thinking, Adam Smith and his predecessors and successors

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