Egoism: Adam Smith’s theory and Chinese traditional ideologies compared

Cao Yang (Huazhong Normal University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 1 April 1996


Egoism as a moral philosophy of market economy in Adam Smith’s system is rational not ultra. It benefits not only other people but also the society led by an invisible hand. The Chinese traditional culture dominated by Confucianism, which denied gain‐seeking actuated by human selfish motives, as a whole, may be incompatible with the development of a market economy. Without rational egoism, the market economy would not exist. Meanwhile, ultra‐egoism which benefits oneself at the expense of others has also deformed the market economy. If it runs wild, the market economy would take the road to its doom.



Yang, C. (1996), "Egoism: Adam Smith’s theory and Chinese traditional ideologies compared", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 23 No. 4/5/6, pp. 326-330.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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