A Comparison of the Economic Philosophies of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx

A Comparison of the Economic Philosophies of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx

Length: 1775 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

As far back as man has been on earth, he has been driven towards building a community among his peers. Whether that is a community of hunters and gatherers who share whatever the day has brought to them within their tribe, or a larger community which within its structure lie the inner dwellings of division of labor and societal classes. Adam Smith (18th Century), John Stuart Mill (19th Century), and Karl Marx (19th Century) are of the same cloth, but in modern terms their community is referenced as a government, and they each have their own distinct opinions on the 'drive' instilled within human nature that shape their personal economic theories. I will be dissecting the views of each of these economists, in regards to the role of government within their envisioned society. While showcasing the difference in views, I want to focus on the subtle similarities that these famous economists shared within their economic process and their beliefs regarding human nature.
The first economist we will discuss is Adam Smith. Before we discuss Smith's views, we will provide a brief description of the setting in which Smith was able to create his assumptions, and formulate his theories. Smith studied Social Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and the University of Oxford, the latter of which he was not as fond of. The primary economic theory at the time (18th Century) was mercantilism, which focused on foreign trade and a positive balance of trade (Net Imports > Net Exports;Trade Surplus). Around 1760, Smith was in France, which was horribly in debt due to the ruinous aiding of Americans against the British, amongst other reasons. Smith envisioned the government playing a larger role, one which consisted of protection through mercha...


... middle of paper ...


...iety being tampered or an individual causing harm to others and deemed unfit. All of these economists looked out for the well being of mankind, even if their government-economic structures were polar opposites, they all had the intention of bettering the mankind. Some ideas translate better than others and in hindsight , a mixture of all these great economists ideas are what balances out a capitalist system.



Works Cited

Heilbroner, R. (1997). Teachings from the Worldly Philosophy. -: W.W. Norton & Company.

Marx, K., & Engels, F. (2000). Manifesto of the Communist Party . Germany: Zodiac.

Mill, J. S. (2001). On Liberty. Kitchener: Batoche Books. (Original work published 1859)

Smith, A. (2005). AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. Hazleton: A PENN STATE ELECTRONIC CLASSICS SERIES PUBLICATION. (Original work published 1776)

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Adam Smith And Karl Marx

- Adam Smith and Karl Marx are undoubtedly two of the finest economic minds of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively. Karl Marx was a revolutionary political philosopher and believed that those with means would invariably use their power to exploit the working class beneath them, and viewed communism and revolutions as an eventuality brought about by this rift between rich and poor. Adam Smith posited that individuals should own the means of production and reinvest said capital for the betterment of society, a system that he believed would allow equal opportunity for gaining wealth....   [tags: Capitalism, Karl Marx, Free market, Adam Smith]

Powerful Essays
1114 words (3.2 pages)

The Great Minds Of Adam Smith And Karl Marx Essay

- ... A new innovation would result in a short-term profit for the undertaker. The profits emerge from the innovator being the only producer and distributor of the product, for a time they have a monopoly on the market. Soon other businesses take notice of the success of the product; in response they create an imitation of the original product, sometimes an improved version, sometimes a cheaper version. Either way, imitations result in increased competition because several businesses are trying to produce the same good....   [tags: Economics, Capitalism, Adam Smith, Karl Marx]

Powerful Essays
737 words (2.1 pages)

Karl Marx And Adam Smith Essay examples

- Many historical figures have different views on how a country should be governed. Two in particular are Karl Marx and Adam Smith. Both men are best known for their opinions on how a country’s economy ought to be run. Adam Smith believes in capitalism, while Karl Marx would rather have a socialist economy. They expressed entirely new ideas that nations still follow today. These two men have completely different views on the class system, economy, and government of a nation. Adam Smith was a Scottish economist and is known as the “father of modern economics”....   [tags: Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, Karl Marx]

Powerful Essays
1015 words (2.9 pages)

Karl Marx And Adam Smith Essay

- Business and Society Ryan Malloy Adam Smith vs. Karl Marx Professor Kushner 9/17/15 Both Karl Marx and Adam Smith were greatly respected economists during the 18th and 19th centuries. They both viewed society, the economy and politics in different ways. Smith viewed capitalism and the free market as a necessity to society while Marx believed that the bourgeoisie and the proletariat were the two classes that would constantly be fighting between each other. Marx believes that the government needs to intervene to help the working class and that the class system needs to be taken down completely....   [tags: Marxism, Working class, Karl Marx, Socialism]

Powerful Essays
1095 words (3.1 pages)

The Free Market System And How It Can Potentially Benefit Individual 's Needs

- ... A classical economist that had many thoughts on this topic was Karl Marx. His desire to move development towards the future is seen in his actions and throughout his work. For Marx, the coming of industry means a liberation from these constraints. This is the aspect of its development (Chitty, 2009, p. 155). Karl Marx had a vision towards the future that had machinery that would take up most of the physical labor individual workers had to endure. The free market economy was one that individuals strived towards as this would limit government involvement and potentially increase profitability for all involved....   [tags: Capitalism, Adam Smith, David Ricardo]

Powerful Essays
1008 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Wealth Of Nations By Adam Smith

- ... Theory of Moral sentiments is Smith’s look inside man’s thoughts and is more of a psychological thesis, than an economic one. Smith claims man is self-interested and partakes in self-interested sympathy. The word sympathy often brings thoughts of altruism and compassion, but for Smith sympathy is about one wanting to maintain their own levels of happiness. Sympathy occurs when man sees a fellow man happy, which brings oneself happiness too. Sympathy also occurs when man sees another hurting or desolate because witnessing this pain brings man’s mood down....   [tags: Adam Smith, Economics, Capitalism]

Powerful Essays
831 words (2.4 pages)

The Division Of Labour By Adam Smith Essay

- The division of labour described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations is a product of individual self-interest. This is representative of Smith’s methodological individualist interpretations of human nature. Adam Smith deduces that the division of labour is beneficial to the individual, as it is in one’s own interest to work less whilst still engaging in tasks that are to their own specialities. Highly specialized work is beneficial for nations to grow economically whilst allowing individuals to further pursue their own rational self-interest....   [tags: Economics, Adam Smith, Individualism, Labor]

Powerful Essays
1192 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on A Comparison of Capitalism and Marxism

- A Comparison of Capitalism and Marxism This essay will compare the economic principles of capitalism and communism by giving brief historical background on both and describing the two. I will begin with the father of economy, Adam Smith, and finish with the theories of Karl Marx. Adam Smith believed that if everyone behaves selfishly we are doing what is best for the economy of our society. This is what is known as “enlightened selfishness.” “Enlightened selfishness” is one of the main elements of capitalism....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
638 words (1.8 pages)

Karl Marx and Adam Smith Essay

- Karl Marx and Adam Smith Karl Marx and Adam Smith wrote in the same time period – during the industrial revolution, where the bourgeois had risen to power by oppressing and exploiting the proletariat. The term bourgeois refers to the people in the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor. The proletarians are the people in the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1390 words (4 pages)

Essay Adam Smith

- Adam Smith Adam Smith, a brilliant eighteenth-century Scottish political economist, had the advantage of judging the significance ol colonies by a rigorous examination based on the colonial experience of 300 years. His overview has a built-in bias: he strongly disapproved of excessive regulation of colonial trade by parent countries. But his analysis is rich with insight and remarkably dispassionate in its argument. Adam Smith recognized that the discovery of the New World not only brought wealth and prosperity to the Old World, but that it also marked a divide in the history of mankind....   [tags: Political Economist Adam Smith Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
4989 words (14.3 pages)