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Type: Conference paper
Title: 'Adam Ferguson as corruption theorist'
Author: Hill, L.
Citation: Proceedings of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2010; pp.1-27
Publisher: APSA
Publisher Place: www
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: American Political Science Association Annual Meeting (2010 : Washington, DC)
Statement of
Lisa Hill
Abstract: The problem of corruption was one of the most pressing issues for political thinkers of the eighteenth century. Some of them approached the issue through a classical lens, focusing on the general problem of national decline brought on by prosperity, national greatness and the consequent loss of political virtue, while others focused on the regularisation and reform of political institutions. This paper is an attempt to locate Adam Ferguson within corruption traditions during this period of transition. Although, at first sight, Ferguson seems to fit easily within a classical tradition, his position will be shown to be more complex mainly because of his ambivalence about progress. Although, in some respects, he welcomed progress as both natural and inevitable, he also expressed alarm at some of its effects on virtue. Drawing inspiration from classical sources, he noted that much is lost in the relentless march of progress including social intimacy, martial vigour and civic vitality. It should be appreciated, however, that Ferguson’s critique was no atavistic lament on the perils of modernity; neither is it a proto-Marxist critique of capitalism heralding its imminent collapse. But neither is it truly modern in the manner of Adam Smith’s account.
Rights: Copyright 2010.
RMID: 0020104746
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Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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