Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Sign in to follow this  
CrashConnoisseur

The Business: Adam Smith: The Elephant In The Chancellor's Drawing-room.

Recommended Posts

'Adam Smith: the elephant in the chancellor's drawing-room':

http://www.thebusinessonline.co.uk/Stories...DE-E660F1F49A19

Smith today is largely associated with a belief in the "invisible hand" of the marketplace, the need for "easy taxes" and the power of self-interest in driving economic progress. He is the elephant in the Chancellor's Kirkcaldy drawing-room. His intellectual importance cannot be overlooked but the ideas he is known for sit uncomfortably with those of Gordon Brown.

But, never a man to leave a loophole unplugged, the Chancellor has embarked on a campaign to rebrand Smith as something different -- something more like a pioneering sort of Scottish socialist. And he has encouraged an array of academics and others to publish papers, give speeches and write books to promote this new view of his 18th-century neighbour.

[...snip...]

...yet the effort to rebrand Smith as an early Scottish socialist rests not so much on a misinterpretation of Smith as on a misinterpretation of capitalism, self-interest and the other supposed vices that are alleged to have annexed Smith's reputation to themselves today. One argument is that Smith was certainly no defender of merchants and manufacturers, and in fact distrusted them. Which is, of course, quite true. "People of the same trade," he wrote, "seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

But then Smith distrusted governments and regulation too. The same quote (oh, why can people not read just a little further?) immediately goes on to list the sort of things that aid and abet such price-fixing assemblies: laws such as compulsory registration and the creation of self-regulatory bodies.

What Smith thought was that people should be able to trade freely, without ministers, officials, or indeed would-be monopolists trying to stop them. It is a view that I myself both admire and share: I hate all coercion, whether it comes from monopolists or governments. That makes me a liberal, not a socialist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.