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7.Legacy and reputationlocked

  • Christopher J. Berry


‘Legacy and reputation’ considers historical and contemporary views of the Wealth of Nations and why Adam Smith is ritually referred to as the ‘father of economics’. Ever since the Wealth of Nations was published it has been interpreted differently. Karl Marx, his most influential reader on the Left, both praised and damned him. Smith’s principles are central to the ‘free market model’ associated with the ‘New Right’. However, a more accurate picture of Smith’s legacy is his contribution to liberalism. For Smith, what is valuable about liberty is that it makes possible the greater public good. The true public good (the real wealth of nations) lies in the world of material well-being.

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