Sunday, January 22, 2006

Patience Please!

I am about to travel to France to make arrangements for my daughter's wedding and this may take a few days, though I hope to be connected to the Internet to publish some materials I have been writing since Thursday on Murray Rothbard's 'Myths about Adam Smith' (which have been interrupted by three days , Friday to Sunday, teaching at Heriot-Watt University for my, now annual, lectures/workshop for MBA students).

Please exhibit the legendary patience of 'Lost Legacy' readers while I am lax in blogging for these next few days.

I see that the von Mises Blog has produced another blast at Adam Smith from the re-issue of Murray Rothbard's volume on the history of economic thought. I can only comment on an aspect of its quality from what he alleged were the views of Adam Smith, and I have to say I am not impressed. I discussed Rothbard's work with a venerable and distinguished, academic colleague the other day and he reported that Rothbard was a 'convert' to Austrian economics who, like many converts to anything, from stopping smoking to changing religions, became somewhat fanatical in his language when discussing anything. This detracted, he said, from the merits of Rothbard's scholarly work.

I cannot comment on the veracity of his statements, other than I respect them from knowing of his own scholarly qualities and believe there must be some substance in them, given the elementary errors in what Rothbard attributes to Smith's views and contributions. commented upon in my parts 1-4 posted here.

So far I have commented on his (mis)representations of Adam Smith as a plagiarist and I have not addressed, so far, the serious charges of plagiarism Rothbard made against Smith.

I did address Smith's 1755 'paper' quoted by Dugald Stewart in 1793 (Smith died in 1790) in an Appendix to my volume, 'Adam Smith's Losty Legacy' (Palgrave 2005: ISBN 1-4039-4789-9) which I believe was his defence against early charges of plagiarism against him, though usually (mis)attributed to him as an accusation of the plagiarism of others of his work. Therefore, I will come back to this aspect of Rothbard's (and Professor Salim Rashid's) accusations against Smith at a later date.

Meanwhile any comments you have can be sent to me at: gk@ebs.hw.ac.uk

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