The ‘Rude State of Society’ and the Reason for Abundance: Adam Smith’s Model

  • Alfonso Maurizio IaconoEmail author
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


In Adam Smith, the contemporaneity of the savage nations took on the dimension of delay and inferiority measured by the evolutionary time of western societies and presented itself as the repetition of a time without leaps and without breaks. The ‘recognition’ of the ‘humanity’ of savage people became an insertion within an evolutionary scale hierarchized according to the criterion of the capitalist mode of production of thinking and imagining one’s own power. Savage people, precisely in so far as they are ‘recognized’, take their place in the lowest rungs of a single evolutionary scale that leads up to the capitalist mode of production, exactly like Friday, whose ‘humanity’ is built by the power of Robinson, from his weapons, from his language, from his religion.


  1. G. Canguilhem, Knowledge of Life, Fordham University Press, Manhattan 2008.Google Scholar
  2. M. Duchet, Anthropologie et Histoire au siècle des Lumières, Maspero, Paris 1971.Google Scholar
  3. M. Foucault, Discipline & Punish, Vintage Books, New York 1995, p. 133.Google Scholar
  4. D. Francesconi, L’età della storia. Linguaggi storiografici dell’illuminismo scozzese, Il Mulino, Bologna 2003.Google Scholar
  5. W. Goethe, Faust I & II, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1984.Google Scholar
  6. D. Hume, On Money, in Political Essays, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. J.-F. Lafitau, Customs of the American Indians Compared with the Customs of Primitive Times, edited by William N. Fenton and Elizabeth L. Moore, The Champlain Society, Toronto, 1974.Google Scholar
  8. S. Landucci, I filosofi e i selvaggi. 1580–1780, Laterza, Bari 1972.Google Scholar
  9. B. Lévi-Strauss, Race and History, UNESCO, Paris 1952.Google Scholar
  10. J. Locke, Second Treatise of Government, edited by C.B. Macpherson, Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis 1980.Google Scholar
  11. B. de Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, Penguins Books, London 1989.Google Scholar
  12. K. Marx, Capital, vol. I, Penguin Books, London 1990.Google Scholar
  13. K. Marx, Contribution to Critique of Political Economy, Kerry, Chicago 1904.Google Scholar
  14. K. Marx, Economic Manuscript of 1861–1863, in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 30, International Progress, New York 1988, p. 269.Google Scholar
  15. K. Marx, Grundrisse, Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, Penguin Books, London 1993.Google Scholar
  16. R.L. Meek, Social Science & the Ignoble Savage, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1976.Google Scholar
  17. J. Millar, The Origin of Distinction of Ranks (1771), Liberty Fund, Indianapolis 2006.Google Scholar
  18. M.L. Pesante, La teoria stadiale della storia e l’analisi economica. Adam Smith, in «Annali della Fondazione Luigi Einaudi», vol. XXIX, 1995.Google Scholar
  19. W. Petty, An Essay Concerning the Multiplication of Mankind, London 16863.Google Scholar
  20. L.J. Prieto, Pertinenza e pratica. Saggio di semiotica (Pertinence and Practice. Essay on Semiotics), Feltrinelli-Bocca, Milano 1976.Google Scholar
  21. J. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, Routledge, London 1986.Google Scholar
  22. A.S. Skinner, Historical Theory, in A.S. Skinner, A System of Social Science, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1979.Google Scholar
  23. A. Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Nation, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1976.Google Scholar
  24. A. Smith, Lectures on Jurisprudence (Lessons in 1762–63 and 1763–64), edited by R.L. Meek, D.D. Raphael, and P.G. Stein, Clarendon, Oxford, 1978, vol. V, The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith.Google Scholar
  25. Th. Sowell, Classical Economics Reconsidered, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1974.Google Scholar
  26. A. Zanini, Adam Smith. Economia, morale, diritto, Bruno Mondadori, Milano 1997.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PisaPisaItaly

Personalised recommendations