Adam Smith's account of self-deceit and informal institutions
No 07-10.RS, DULBEA Working Papers from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles
According to Adam Smith, self-deceit is essential to the economy. In this light the paper draws on the Theory of Moral Sentiments and revisits Adam Smith’s view of the self. The originality of Smith’s account of self-deceit is seen in his insights into self-regulating social forces. The paper illustrates how, in this view, informal institutions are important because they countervail self-deceit in markets. It suggests that Smith overestimated these countervailing forces for the reason that informal norms are also able to amplify selfdeceiving agents.
Keywords: self-deception; self-love; sympathy; informal norms; self-regulation; positive and negative feedback. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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