Adam Smith's Use of the 'Gravitation' Metaphor
Gavin Kennedy ()
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Gavin Kennedy: Emeritus Professor, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Economic Thought, 2015, vol. 4, issue 1, 67-79
Adam Smith, in Wealth of Nations, used gravitation as a rhetorical metaphor and not in a formal philosophical sense, as used by Newton, Aristotle or Empedocles. Physical gravitational attraction is predictable, accurate and rule-bound; metaphoric gravity, as in relationships between natural and market prices, are neither strictly rule-based nor predictable. Market exchange relationships between independent people are subject to the vagaries of imperfect rhetorical persuasion.
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