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Capital FailureRebuilding Trust in Financial Services$
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Nicholas Morris and David Vines

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712220

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712220.001.0001

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Regard for Others

Regard for Others

Chapter:
(p.154) 7 Regard for Others
Source:
Capital Failure
Author(s):

Avner Offer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712220.003.0007

Adam Smith rejected Mandeville’s invisible-hand doctrine of ‘private vices, publick benefits’. In The Theory of Moral Sentiments his model of the ‘impartial spectator’ is driven not by our sympathy for other people, but by their sympathy for us. Approbation needs to be authenticated, and in Smith’s model authentication relies on innate virtue, which is unrealistic. In this chapter an alternative model of ‘regard’ is applied, which makes use of signalling and is more pragmatic. Modern versions of the invisible hand in rational choice theory and neo-liberalism are shown to be radical departures from the ethical legacy of Enlightenment and utilitarian economics, and are inconsistent with Adam Smith’s own position.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, impartial spectator, approbation, invisible hand, authentication, sympathy, regard

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