Sunday, January 20, 2008

David Warsh is Named as the Source for the Allegation that Adam Smith Did Not Visit a Pin Factory

I have been busy today replying to various correspondents on the question of who supplied the notion that Adam Smith did not visit a pin factory his exposition of the division of labour in Wealth Of Nations, even though he specifically states that he did (WN I.i.3: p 15, or in the Cannand 1937 edition, p 5).

From three sources , including Tim Harford, the name of David Warsh has been mentioned, with one correspondent supplying the quotation on page 40 of David Warsh’s influential ‘ 'Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations’(2007).

I have emailed David Warsh asking for his source. David is a leading journalist reporting on broad economics issues and he is highly thought of within the profession. I have read his book and I heard him give a paper at the History of Economics Society last June at George Mason University. He was a most charming and gracious conversationalist.

When I receive a reply I shall return to the subject.

For the record I locate the original source in a book by Murray Rothbard, recently posthumously published by the Mises Institute, which I reviewed and critiqued in 2006.

The comments I made are available on Lost Legacy in the Article’s button (left hand column on the Home page of Lost Legacy – scroll through to ‘division of labour’ when it comes up in the edit ‘find’ function).

There is an interesting post of the current debate here on the ‘antidismal’ blog (New Zealand).


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