By Albion Woodbury Small
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Extra info for Adam Smith and Modern Sociology a Study in the Methodology of the Social Sciences
They are psychical and social as well as mechanical. There is probably a certain minute portion of the “toil and trouble” element in every case of value, but whether it is the “toil and trouble” which it actually costs the producer to produce it, or the “toil and trouble” which it would cost the purchaser to produce it, or the “toil and trouble” to which the purchaser would be liable if he had to go without it, actual exchanges in civilized society could not be expressed uniformly in terms of either concept.
If we were to judge merely from the essay on the moral sentiments, we should be left to the impression that Smith’s conception of ethics was that it had to do merely with the theory of appreciation or evaluation. We know, however, that this psychological discussion represented merely preliminaries which in his mind led to the doctrines of practical morals, and that the whole plexus of moral attitudes with reference to which approbation or disapprobation is possible constituted in his mind a plane of human activities distinct from that which for him made up the religious sphere.
The significant point is that Smith instinctively perceived the close relation between the technological problems of wealth, and the anthropological and psychological and social problems of people. ” In one sense this proposition is strictly physical. It is no more to be disputed than the proposition that the pressure of water at the bottom of a tube is in proportion to the height of the water in the tube. On the other hand, Smith does not hint at the broad scope of the question, What makes a market?
Adam Smith and Modern Sociology a Study in the Methodology of the Social Sciences by Albion Woodbury Small