The essay argues that Edmund Burke's differences from Adam Smith on government-sponsored assistance for the unemployed is rooted in their differences about the nature of government, not in their economic theories. Burke, unlike Smith, cannot free himself from the violent display of power on which he thinks political legitimacy rests. In this way, his work testifies to the insights of Michel Foucault. Smith has a different, more bourgeois ideal and a higher estimate of the "bourgeois virtues" of the common person.
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Edmund Burke, Unemployment Assistance, Virtues, Sublime Style, Government, Rhetorical Criticism, Economy
Copyright © 2011 David J. Depew
Recommended CitationDepew, David J. "Adam Smith and Edmund Burke: Texts in Context." Poroi 7, Iss. 1 (2011): Article 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.13008/2151-2957.1082
The author thanks Deirdre McCloskey for helping him avoid some dead ends. He is also grateful to Tom Goodnight for critically reading the text and making helpful suggestions.