Ethics and Economics Resources week 3

Our discussion noted the 'battle for the soul of Adam Smith' in debating the proper ethical orientation of contemporary economics. I have my own take on this and wrote a short introduction to Smith for a business ethics handbook that should be quite accessible. Section 2 discusses Smith's ethical economics.

I also mentioned, very hurriedly, two stories of economist heroes and villains that were intended to illustrate the points made in the assigned reading, and also show why they matter. David Levy and Sandra Peart wrote a series of (short) columns on this that I highly recommend.

1. How the Dismal Science of economics got its name: Thomas Carlyle's racist diatribe against economists like Mill who were arguing for equality in labour markets and a real end to slavery.

2. Eugenics: The sordid association of many leading economists of the late 19th and early 20th century with eugenic economics and policies.

(The columns are based on David M. Levy, How the Dismal Science Got Its Name: Classical Economics and the Ur-Text of Racial Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2002).
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