Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Impartial Spectating and the Price Analogy


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In this discussion of Adam Smith’s impartial spectator I draw an analogy between the impartial spectator and prices. In both cases we have a socially rooted yet generally impersonal phenomenon. The price analogy also helps in realizing that ‘impartial spectating’ may be a term that has multiple dimensions. I argue that one dimension in particular is at the heart of the meaning of the impartial spectator.