Adam Smith on the subordination of wage-earners in the commercial society

Abstract : Adam Smith's discourse on wage labour is both original for its time and complex. While Smith indisputably considered the substitution of serfdom by wage labour as an improvement in both opulence and independence, we argue that he nevertheless saw the wage relationship as one founded on subordination. We then cast light on the material factors and symbolic mechanisms which, in his writings, explain how and why the worker agrees to this subordination. Finally, we endeavour to show that Smith's praise for the system of natural liberty as well as his repeated criticisms of merchants and capital owners aimed to transcend this issue.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01244684
Contributeur : Anne L'Azou <>
Soumis le : mercredi 16 décembre 2015 - 10:18:51
Dernière modification le : jeudi 4 juillet 2019 - 15:02:06

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Jean Dellemotte, Benoît Walraevens. Adam Smith on the subordination of wage-earners in the commercial society. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2015, 22 (4), pp.692-727. ⟨10.1080/09672567.2013.792375⟩. ⟨halshs-01244684⟩

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