What's Liberal About Adam Smith's Liberal Plan?
Posted: 25 May 2021 Last revised: 16 Sep 2021
Date Written: May 24, 2021
In addition to its connection with ideas of freedom, the word “liberal” is an apt descriptor of Smith’s plan in politics. Smith’s plan evinces attributes that are liberal in a non-political sense. Salient among these attributes is generosity and charity. The liberal plan, on Smith’s estimation, not only generously provides for the material needs of society; it entails a generous view of the person, a view that recognizes our limited ability to beneficially control the circumstances of others and that dignifies the ordinary, honest activities of normal people.
Keywords: Adam Smith, liberalism, distributive justice, liberty
JEL Classification: B12, B31, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation