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Adam Smith and Economic Citizenship


Recent Adam Smith scholarship, whether focusing on his Stoic inheritance, Moral Sentiments' impact on economic theory, or influences of Shaftesbury, Hutcheson or Rousseau, has gained traction rereading Smith against the cultural myths in which his name stands as cipher for self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism. Ironically, Smith has now re-emerged as a proponent of the naturally social quality of human beings. This essay argues that the new critical focus on natural sociality elides from Smith's work the absolutely central mode of unnatural relations: citizenship. Accordingly, this essay outlines the consequences of Smith's overlooked, thoroughly economic theory of citizenship.