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11/16/2015

Helmy, "Smith on Ancient Egypt and the Arab Islamic World: A Tale of Two Statist Models"

ForumThis paper endeavors to portray Egypt, the Arab, and Islamic worlds in the eyes of Adam Smith as implied in his work An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations from the perspective of the extent and desirability of state intervention in the economy. In other words, the paper attempts to analyze why Smith's stance on ancient Egypt changed from an example of opulence to an eighteenth-century Egypt that—together with other Arab and Islamic countries—represents a model with many challengeable aspects, although the extent of the state action was remarkable in both models, the ancient and the contemporary. Our premise is that Smith did not defend or attack the models based on the extent of state intervention in the economy, but on whether its intervention was conducive to, first, raising the person's well-being and, second, promoting the morals of Smith's “commercial” society.

Heba E. Helmy, "Smith on Ancient Egypt and the Arab Islamic World: A Tale of Two Statist Models," Forum for Social Economics, 44/3 (2015), pp. 251-283.

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