[Marxism] Adam Smith and Communism

Dogan Gocmen dgn.gcmn at googlemail.com
Tue Sep 22 10:16:32 MDT 2009

that Smith employs and in fact justifies the notion of communism may be seen
in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) as well in his approch to the
division of labour. First TMS. In TMS Smith offers a theory of morality,
which is formulated in a direct opposition to utilitarian appraoch. His
concept that serves basis for his whole theory is Sympathy which is just
another expression for solidarity. In TMS he says the following:

‘Society may subsist among different men, as among different merchants, from
a sense of its utility, without any mutual love or affection; and though no
man in it should owe any obligation, or be bound in gratitude to any other,
it may still be upheld by a mercenary exchange of good offices according to
an agreed valuation.’[1] <#_ftn1>


‘[w]here the necessary assistance is reciprocally afforded [not based on the
principle of utility but,- DG] from love, from gratitude, from friendship,
and esteem, the society flourishes and is happy. All the different members
of it are bound together by the agreeable bands of love and affection, and
are as it were, drawn to one common centre of mutual good offices.’[2]<#_ftn2>
I take this as a justification of a society to be errected on the principle
of solidarity which I take as a notion of communism. Smith knew More's Utpia
very well as he refers in TMS to Thomas More as a man of dignity. The first
major chapter of my book is about this issue. In my next email I will
discuss this in relation to the division of labour.


[1] <#_ftnref1> TMS II.ii.3.2.

[2] <#_ftnref2> TMS II.ii.3.1.

Dogan Göcmen
Author of The Adam Smith Problem:
Reconciling Human Nature and Society in
The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations, I. B. Tauris,
London&New York 2007

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