Thursday, February 14, 2008

Please: Adam Smith was Scottish Not 'American'

Steady On There!:

Value pricing: a debate without end. By Rob Lewis Baker argues that take-up has been slow because the move represents a fundamental change in theory. Indeed, it is a theory he has occupied himself with for many years. A well-read man who clearly does not shy away from abstract thought, Baker compares the shift towards value-pricing with the medical acceptance of germ theory, and says that diffusing a new theory into the population, be it scientific or otherwise, is measured in decades, if not centuries. His writing and speaking on the subject frequently makes reference to philosophers like Karl Popper, Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx, as well as the economist Adam Smith. Off at the deep end “I owe it all to the economists,” says Baker. “Adam Smith, Milton Freidman, Milton Freidman’s son David, and Steven Landsberg.” These US free market thinkers are not surprising influences, perhaps, for a Californian who believes the accountancy profession is a business that should be defined above all else by what it can charge for. In fact, there is an American flavour to much of the value billing argument. The VeraSage Insitute, which Baker co-founded, asks its members to sign a “declaration of independence” akin to the one the continental congress adopted in 1776. Last month he described the billable hour (value pricing’s mortal enemy) as a form of communism.'

In AccountingWeb (here

Comment
I know that people cnan be confused about Adam Smith's persona, given that George Stigler asserted that he was 'alive and well and living Chicago' and that much of US academe believes he wrote many things that he didn't, but it's going too far to include him as amongst 'US free market thinkers'.

Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and though he was sympathetic to the British colonists in North America, he remained in every sense a Scotsman.

3 Comments:

Blogger Michael Follon said...

This is just to add to the part of the post which mentions the fact that Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. The book 'A Companion to Scottish Culture' by David Daiches, ISBN 0 7131 6344 5 contains an entry about Adam Smith -

'Born a sickly child sometime before 5 June 1723 when he was baptized...His grave, marked by a simple inscription, is in the Canongate kirkyard.' [in Edinburgh]

4:51 pm  
Blogger SeanK said...

The most important thing to note about Adam Smith is that he wrote the second most important document published in 1776.

9:03 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Hi Malcol
Thanks for your comment.

His father, who died in January 1723, is listed on Adam Smith's matriculation entries at Glasgow University (1737) as from Kirkcaldy , where Adam Smith grew up, though he had many relatives nearby by in the countryside round Kirkcaldy.

He died in Edinburgh, where he had lived since 1777 to 1790 and is buried in the Canogate Kirkyard.

David Daichies was a academic in English literature (and an expert on Scotch whisky. I me thim once at a party.

Seank

Thanks for your comment. I agree with you.

9:23 pm  

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