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Initially published in Research in the History of Economic Though and Methodology, 2001, volume 19A, pages 33-46.

© Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2001

DOI: 10.1016/S0743-4154(01)19004-8


This paper responds to Keith Tribe's provocative Journal of Economic Literature article, “Adam Smith: Critical Theorist?” There Tribe argued that most people most of the time grossly misread Smith, due, among other things, to their quite inadequate appreciation of Smith's linguistic, social, moral, and theological context. Against Tribe, the paper argues that Smith can profitably be read as both an eighteenth-century moralist and a twenty-first century critic. Smith can be a source of inspiration, wisdom and profundity for contemporary economists. Moreover, Smith can be successfully employed by modern economists to change, deepen, and broaden contemporary economic theory.




The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.