Monday, September 08, 2008

Adam Smith: not guilty

Erle Frayne Argonza, of Manila, writes a Blog, Unladtau (‘development, economics, better world’), HERE: which contains this:


“It was precisely at that juncture of expanded slave trade when the BEIC’s talent scouts eyed the services of a Scottish gentleman, named Adam Smith who could fit into the mental Pied Piper prototype for BEIC enslavement pursuits. It would be no wise to contend that Smith was a mental robot or ‘Manchurian Candidate’ controlled by overlords behind the scenes, for Smith was a man of his own mind, and up to the last instance he was indeed that ‘organic intellectual’ for the slave traders. He just couldn’t qualify as ‘independent intellectual’ though, for Smith was, in the yardsticks of the autonomous intellectuals, a ‘prostituted intellectual’ or ‘intellectual prostitute’.

The rest was history. Both the erudite and simpleton among the schooled populations of Earth know what Smith’s economic doctrine is all about. And many folks today are aware that the neo-liberal policy regime of the moment was a rehash of the same Smithian physiocracy.”

Hardly worth commenting because it is so silly and wrong (‘a little nonsense is dangerous’).

The only point I would make for the record is that its author does not give a single example of Adam Smith’s writings, actions, or associations that would in the slightest degree suggest he was in the pay of the ‘BEIC’ (British East India Company) or of the slave trade.

The author doesn’t specify which particular slave trade – European, Arab, Chinese or Indian - or that he was even sympathetic to any such atrocious entities.

For Smith's views on the East India Compnay see: Wealth Of Nations, I.viii.26: p 91; I.xi.g.27-28: pp 222-25; IV.i.33: pp448-9; V.i.1-40: pp 731-58. Slavery is discussed in numerous places: see WN I.viii.41: pp 98-9; III.ii.8-11: pp 386-89 (and index).



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