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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Adam Smith not only champions commerce, he also criticizes it. In this criticism Smith draws critically upon a long-standing concern in enlightenment’s culture about the proper basis of political and moral life. For the purposes of this chapter, we can identify two interrelated dimensions in Smith’s analysis of the relation between corruption and commerce. He focuses on atavistic remainders of pre-modern, feudal, or aristocratic aspects of behaviour within the heart of commercial society and considers obsequiousness as emblematic of dependent socio-economic relationships while, simultaneously, he raises the issue of distinct socio-economic, moral and political forms of commercial corruption, endemic to the core of commercial polity

Keywords: Adam Smith, obsequiousness, deference, corporate spirit, courtly manners, commercial ambition, vanity

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