Eugenio Lecaldano

Ethics, Economy and Labor: the Enlightenment Paradigm in David Hume and Adam Smith

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Labor, Achievement, Enlightenment, Moral Sentiments, Motivation.

The article wishes to shed light on contemporary transformations in labor tied to globalization, by examining how David Hume and Adam Smith accounted for the changes in the conditions in labor at their time in connection with the advancement of manufacturing. Hume shows that the motivational basis of labor lies in the human tendency to one's «achievement»; Smith accounts for the importance of the division of labor, not in terms of the productive results but mentioning the human «desire to persuade». Both argue for the necessity of a moral perspective on the concept of labor as an important feature of the character of human beings. A consequence of their analyses is that a merely economic approach to it is deeply partial.

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