Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Lectures on Domestic Policy

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Abstract

Reproduced here are most of the lecture notes on domestic policy (“police”) from Adam Smith’s 1763–1764 course on jurisprudence at the University of Glasgow. The text comes from the edition of Edwin Cannan, published 1896 by the Clarendon Press at Oxford University. Smith steadily conveys the lesson that, as far as policy goes, the best available option is liberalization and freer enterprise. For example, he roundly endorses free banking, mentioning none of the exceptions found in The Wealth of Nations. The text provides a candid window on Smith’s ideological sensibilities, and it should figure in to characterizations of Smith’s liberalism.