This book presents a controversial account of the work of Adam Smith, challenging prevailing orthodox thought on Smith's contribution to economics. It argues that Smith's fame as an economic analyst and economic historian is undeserved.
The book opens by introducing the reader to the author's own views, and then examines Adam Smith's analytical merits. In this exploration Salim Rashid considers two of Smith's most celebrated ideas - the division of labour and the market mechanism. He presents an historical review of the division of labour, focusing on what was original to Smith, and indicates why this was of limited value. He then discusses the concept of the invisible hand within the context of an understanding of how markets work. The author then questions whether Smith used historical facts with an open mind and desire to learn, or whether he used them to illustrate preconceived theories. Smith's applied economics are also studied in relation to his work on public finance and scarcities of food. Finally, the author emphasises the role of political and historiographical factors in leading to Adam Smith's rise to fame as the founder of scientific economics.
The Myth of Adam Smith will be of interest to historians of economic thought, philosophers of science, and scholars and students interested in political economy, economic theory and economic methodology.
Salim Rashid, Professor of Economics, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji
Contents: Introduction 1. Adam Smith and the Cycle of Ignorance 2. Adam Smith and the Division of Labour: A Historical View 3. Adam Smith and the Market Mechanism 4. The Wealth of Nations and Historical `Facts' 5. Public Finance 6. The Policy of Laissez-faire during Scarcities 7. Adam Smith's Rise to Superior Fame 8. Adam Smith's Interpretation of the History of Economics and its Influence in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 8. The Intellectual Standards of Adam Smith's Day 9. Concluding Reflections 10. The Intellectual Standards of Adam Smith's Day Index