BEYOND ECONOMIC MAN: ADAM SMITH'S CONCEPT OF THE AGENT AND THE ROLE OF DECEPTION
Drawing on Adam Smith's "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" I suggest analysing and further developing my hypothesis that deception is inevitable in the social setting. Smith's agents, who constantly deceive themselves because they cannot look impartially at themselves and others, are compared to and differentiated from homo oeconomicus as the prototypical model of modern economic agents. My analysis reveals that Smith and modern economists arrive at contrasting viewpoints concerning deception. Whereas Smith's selfdeception and illusions are vital to understanding the exchange process, modern economists regard deception as inefficient, hindering exchange and ultimately making it impossible.
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