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Title: Adam Smith on the cyclicity of the rise and fall of civilization
Authors: Nohara, Shinji
Keywords: Adam Smith
history
civilization
liberty
opulence
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University
Citation: Shinji Nohara; "Adam Smith on the cyclicity of the rise and fall of civilization", The Kyoto Economic Review, Vol. 79, pp.77-89 (2010) .
Journal title: The Kyoto economic review
Volume: 79
Issue: 1
Start page: 77
End page: 89
Abstract: As a historical framework, Adam Smith used the four-stages theory of social development, which was included in a broader one, namely, the history of civilization. First, in narrating history, Smith criticized the perspective of the historical cycle of the rise and fall of civilization adopted by Machiavelli and other writers. On that occasion, he inquired into the unique mechanism and development of the modern European civilization through comparing it with the ancient classical civilization and the uncivilized feudal past. Furthermore, Smith attributed the unique mechanism of the modern civilization to some important aspects of it: the invention of fire-arms (the military revolution), the production system based on the division of labor without slavery, and the establishment of absolute power. For Smith, the system of natural liberty suited modern civilization in which many governments were not republican. However, he regarded republican self-government as indicating the progress of society. In the long run, Smith recognized the contradictions and ambivalence in the modern civilization.
DOI: 10.11179/ker.79.77
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2433/139071
Appears in Collections:Vol.79 No.1

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