An Optimistic Perspective of Colonialism: Economical Role of Morals in the Works of Adam Smith


It is not a coincidence that Adam Smith, the founding father of economics, was a moral philosopher. First of all, when both England and continental Europe were at the edge of unprecedented developments during the second half of the eighteenth century, in which European communal life felt the impact of this change in every aspect of society. Just as growth and development of production depended on capital, so did distribution and consumption, a reality which thus directed the social dynamics to change from the village to town, from being a serf to worker, and from being a subject to a citizen. This wave of change made establishing (or at least explaining) the balance between protecting self-interests and moral rules even more complicated. In this context, issue of whether homo economicus is an utterly amoral concept has emerged as a question difficult to answer on many different levels. This study follows a methodological context based on a number of Smith’s works and attempts to illustrate the connections between morality and economics through his works. On the other hand, the critical assessment of the link mentioned herein is discussed based on the phenomenon of colonialism. It is the conclusion of this study that, throughout Smith’s works, there exists an invisible hand which insists on an optimistic connection between social and economic conditions on the one side and the phenomenon of colonialism on the other.


adam smith ethics economic balance colonialism social harmony