Private Vice and Public Virtue

638 Words3 Pages
Private Vice and Public Virtue Adam Smith used many metaphors to drive the point home that individual interests and pursuits lead to a benefit for society as a whole. This is a sound and convincing argument, which reflects our modern economy in today’s ever changing world. I will examine, as a proponent of Smith’s metaphors with regards to “Private Vice” for the good of “Public Virtue” and explain concisely why Smith’s ideas were considered to be radical in his day and age, yet common sense to us today. A phrase often quoted and alluded to, it conveys the unintentional benefits stemming from individual's pursuit of their own wants and needs, which means; by default the person pursuing perfection privately in one particular skill will benefit society as a whole and create an economy with trade and prosperity. As discussed in class, the butcher, the baker, and the brewer provide goods and services to each other out of self interest; which is the unplanned result of this division of labor, which creates a better standard of living for all three. By concentrating on one particular discipline, each in his or her respective discipline becomes a professional, who produces reliable stores and predictable quality goods or services. For example; if you have an injury you do not go to the butcher but rather you see a physician and the inverse is when the physician is hungry he goes to the butcher, not another physician. This allows for pursuit of perfection in one’s area of specialty and accidentally creates a revolving economy. There are two important features of Smith's concept of the "invisible hand". One, Smith was not advocating a social policy (that people should act in their own self interest and to hell with anyone but themselves), but was describing an observed economic reality that people do act in their own interest

More about Private Vice and Public Virtue

Open Document