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Adam Smith in Context: A Critical Reassessment of Some by Leonidas Montes (auth.)

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By Leonidas Montes (auth.)

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P. 38), giving rise to the prosperity of the German Empire. Although after unification, between 1871–73, there was a bonanza (Gründerzeit), ending in the financial collapse of 1873 (Gründerkrise), in general Germany witnessed steady and rapid economic growth up to the First World War. 5% (from $579 to $958, in 1970 US dollars. 2, Crafts 1985, p. 54). Certainly it is very difficult to situate and explain the German economic takeoff, as has been convincingly argued by Tipton (1974), but Milward and Saul are right when they state: ‘[w]hereas in the early nineteenth century economists, statesmen and social reformers in the less developed countries in Europe sought for clues to the future of their own society by analysing that of Britain and France, by the end of the nineteenth century this interest had rightly become focused on Germany’ (1977, pp.

44 This, in a nutshell, is the background to Das Adam Smith Problem. Oncken (1897, 2000 [1898]), in reaction to the German Historical School, presents a solution to the formal Problem based mainly on facts. Stephen (1991 [1876]) and Lange (1925 [1865]) view sympathy as a regulative force. Morrow (1969 [1923], 1927) tackles the issue of selfinterest as an inferior virtue, which falls under the umbrella of prudence, which in turn leads to an understanding of the TMS as a regulating basis for economic behaviour.

150). 32 Adam Smith in Context human nature the quality of which the Wealth of Nations had deprived it; and, by thus establishing two different lines of argument, he embraced the whole subject. (Buckle, 1970 [1861], p. 351)33 Skar˙zyn´ski simply detected the error that the TMS, based on sympathy, and the WN, based on self-interest, together comprise a complete, independent and almost additive picture of human nature. 2 Some early reactions A few years after Skar˙zyn´ski, an important English intellectual historian, Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904), published his influential History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century (1876).

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