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Michigan State University

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PTCD Job Talk - Who Profits? Adam Smith and the Protagonists of Capitalism

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 3:00 pm

Speaker: Dr. Roni Hirsch

Location: JMC Library (3rd Floor, Case Hall)

Definitions of profit in the history of economic thought have been highly diverse and unstable. Profits have been tied to virtue and frugality, market efficiency, exploitation, or the entrepreneurial spirit with equal amounts of scientific zeal. Dr. Hirsch will present her work on the history of the concept of profit and its role at the intersection of economic explanation and normative reflection. Her talk focuses on Adam Smith’s now discarded model of profit: a thoroughly socialized alternative to the twentieth-century idea of unlimited, highly individualized profits. Seeing profit as socially derived, Smith concluded that it was also bound by two common social purposes: economic progress on the one hand, and the social redistribution of economic risks, on the other.