Boys Do Cry: Adam Smith on Wealth and Expressing Emotions

Journal of Scottish Philosophy. March 2017 (Forthcoming)

12 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016

Date Written: December 17, 2016

Abstract

Recent studies on crying show that crying is more common in happier, freer, and richer countries than in poorer and less free countries. These results can sound counterintuitive and contradict the hypothesis that crying is more observable in countries where people experience more distress. Adam Smith may offer an explanation: In the severe hardship of poverty, showing emotion and distress can be read as a sign of weakness, attracting no sympathy and compromising survival. As a result, emotional displays are avoided. Instead, wealthier commercial societies offer ease and tranquility which allows individuals to express their emotions with fewer negative consequences.

Keywords: Adam Smith, expression of emotion, crying, stoicism, commercial societies, distress, poverty

Suggested Citation

Paganelli, Maria Pia, Boys Do Cry: Adam Smith on Wealth and Expressing Emotions (December 17, 2016). Journal of Scottish Philosophy. March 2017 (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2886952

Maria Pia Paganelli (Contact Author)

Trinity University ( email )

Dept. of Economics
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212
United States

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