Tuesday, July 08, 2008

More on the Adam Smith Statue

The Bastiat Society HERE:

"The Genius of Adam Smith"

On July 4th, outside St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Professor Vernon Smith of George Mason University unveiled a statue of the Scottish intellectual known as "the father of economics," Adam Smith.

National Post (Canada) columnist Peter Foster noted the occasion by writing that Adam Smith has at long last received the memorial he deserves. All too often demonized as the "father of capitalism" and the exploitation the working class, Foster says Smith "was very much concerned with improving the lot of ordinary people."

Foster wrote, "In The Wealth of Nations, [Smith] pointed to the remarkable social -- and international -- benefits of self-interested interaction through trade and the division of labour. He noted that participants appeared to be guided by an "Invisible Hand" to produce a good that was "no part of their intention." This truism has been the centrepiece of attacks on the capitalist system as motivated by "greed" and "selfishness" and thus morally indefensible. But the merely obvious observation that Smith's famous "butcher, brewer and baker" are serving us primarily in their own interests in no way detracts from the value of that service, nor implies that they are rendered heartless by their business dealings."

Ignore the invisible hand bit (see Lost Legacy passim) and take the piece as a whole. One of many notices about the unveiling of Adam Smith’s statue from around the world.

This contributes to the profile of Adam Smith among the educated chattering classes and should lead to a wider readership of his books.

Professor Vernon Smith and his wife came up to me after my short talk about Adam Smith's life at Panmure House (Adam Smith's home in Edinburgh, 1788-90). He asked for a copy of my paper on the invisible hand, 'from metaphor to myth', giving me his card, after I revealed I had visited GMU in June 2007.

For a photo of the Adam Smith Statue see the Adam Smith Institute Blog HERE


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