Trade and language: Adam Smith's rhetoric of persuasion



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Alonso-Cortés Manteca, Ángel (2008) Trade and language: Adam Smith's rhetoric of persuasion. In Seminario Lucas Beltrán, 2008, Universidad CEU San Pablo. (Submitted)

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This paper is organized in two distinct parts. In the first section, the theoretical framework is laid regarding the functions of language, as Smith has them envisaged, and their relationship to the division of labor. And although this idea is original to Smith, the broader topic itself has been eluded to many times, as far back as the Ancient Philosophers, and more recently by William Petty and Bernard Mandeville. Nevertheless, the notion that persuasion is intrinsically linked to the division of labor is a concept exclusive to Smith. Moreover, the existence of the two types of communication, persuasive and empathetic, is established in Smith, in which both styles of communication are compared in relation to the behavior of exchange or trade.
In the second section of this article I will argue that both exchange, or trade, and linguistic communication have their roots in the empathetic style of interaction outlined previously. After all, it is the empathetic style that favors both speaker and listener in an even exchange, while persuasive communication necessarily assumes a greater benefit for the speaker. Obviously, the notions of contractual interaction and trade must imply some sort of mutuality, if not trade would not occur. And even though one participant may come out of the deal with a greater benefit than the other, this is a matter of perspective and dependent on the point of view of the participants in the interaction.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Economic history
Humanities > Philology > Linguistics
ID Code:8035
Deposited On:29 Jul 2008 11:04
Last Modified:12 Apr 2019 08:27

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