volume 15, issue 1, P39-57 2002
DOI: 10.1177/0952695102015001072
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Ann Firth

Abstract: Political oeconomy in the 18th century operated in the absence of the conception of an autonomous social order articulated in the later concepts of `the economy' and `society'. Without a self-sustaining mechanism oriented to stability and endogenous economic growth, national prosperity and social order were assumed to depend upon the detailed interventions in economic life that are characteristic of mercantilism and the police of the poor. Smith's theory that autonomous economic growth underpinned a stable or…

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