accountabilitybloke (old blog)

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A major regret…

When I attended graduate school at Colorado-Boulder from 1968-1974, Kenneth Boulding was in the economics department and associated with some institute on campus. Although I did take a seminar in development economics, I now regret not having reached out to him or taken a course form him — his work on The Image played a major role in my dissertation research. But at the time there was only one seminar he offered regularly — I cannot recall its subject or title, but it had one text: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. I suspect I might have avoided that course because reading Smith did not seem relevant at the time….

Fast forward a quarter century (plus) later and I find myself undetaking a “close reading” of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS). I had given it a superficial read years ago, and more recently have focused on certain sections and the secondary literature; but this close reading exercise is really deepening my appreciation of Smith as a significant social theorist whose contributions in that role are little known or appreciated.

I have to admit that, were I given the opportunity to teach a doctoral level course on the theory of accountability and governance (can’t do that now since we have no PhD students at UNH) I would emulate Boulding by working off of a single Smith text, but my selection would be TMS…

June 11th, 2009 Posted by | accountabilitybloke | no comments