Monday, November 24, 2008

Melbourne 'Discover Capitalism' Club Sounds Most Interesting

A Blog advertising a discussion group announces an event entitled:
"Comparing Adam Smith & Ayn Rand on The Moral Foundations of Capitalism"
HERE:

The text about the discussion announced the background to the event:

Our goal will be to identify
1. All the ways in which Adam Smith and Ayn Rand are similar
2. All the ways in which Adam Smith and Ayn Rand are different

Timothy Warner will present the basics of Adam Smith's approach.

Prodos will present the basics of Ayn Rand's approach.

This will not be a debate - but a careful, thoughtful, and thorough exploration; a mapping out of the terrain of each Thinker's thinking.

Many people treat Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations as a stand-alone defense of the Free Market. However, without a proper grasp his earlier work, Theory of Moral Sentiment, it is simply not possible to fully appreciate where Adam Smith is coming from and what he really means.

My research indicates that the term "the invisible hand" first appeared in Theory of Moral Sentiments (first published in 1759) - not in Wealth of Nations. But I'm still checking on this.

Most of us know Adam Smith as an Economist - as the father of Economics. Few are as versed with his work on Moral Philosophy. I believe you'll find Tim Warner's depth of understanding and clarity of communication on all things Adam Smith very strong.
Ayn Rand is more widely recognized as a moral philosopher and as an advocate of a particular kind of morality - one which explicitly leads to the advocacy of Free Market Capitalism.

She once wrote: "I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."

Free Market Capitalism "follows" from Ayn Rand's epistemological and moral premises.
Free Market Capitalism "follows" from Adam Smith's epistemological and moral premises.

Are the two approaches compatible? If so, to what extent? Where do they diverge? Are any differences due to different views of Man? Of thinking? Of happiness? Of human relationships? Of the nature of reality? What does each thinker treat as most important or least important?”

There are many, many questions to explore. Come armed with your own! It's going to be a super evening! I look forward to your passionate intellect
!”

Comment
It really sounds a worthwhile event and if scheduled on a regular basis it would be worth attending regularly (I assume the subjects discussed at the meetings change each time). On these grounds its sponsors and attendees appear to be serious people and similar in kind to regular readers of Lost Legacy.

Unfortunately, the discussions are not within easy reach of Edinburgh because the Club, ‘Discover Capitalism’, is in Melbourne, Australia. Any reader who knows of the club would be most welcome to inform Lost Legacy of its qualities, especially as it holds to the following principles for the conduct of its debates:

Our members come from a wide range of politics and ideology within the pro-Capitalism spectrum, including: Conservative, Classical Liberal, Objectivist, Christian, Atheist, Libertarian, Liberal Party of Australia. Discussions are friendly but vigorous. We take ideas (and good manners) seriously!

The nearest we have in Edinburgh to the Melbourne Club is the ‘Tuesday Club’ (to which dinner meeting I shall attend tomorrow evening – Tuesday, 25 November), which has a stimulating procession of good speakers and a club ‘rule’ that all attending are expected to speak in turn after the main speaker’s discourse, all over an excellent dinner.

While the Tuesday Club is ‘right of centre’, it is not homogenous in its views, and nor are its speakers. Last month’s was delivered by a senior ‘spin’ manager from the UK Labour Party’s cabinet-level-team of ‘spinners’ – and very thoughtful he was too in making the ‘Unionist’ case against Scottish independence. Being chairman for the night, I stuck to a self-denying ordinance not to speak, especially as long speeches by some members were followed by long responses albeit of excellent quality from the speaker.

However, if I ever get to Melbourne (again) I would hope to attend a meeting of the ‘Discover Capitalism’ club, unless I am told by Lost Legacy readers that its actual practice is different from its billing.

Meanwhile, members of the 'Discover Capitalism' club may want to discover something about Adam Smith and his Works from reading Lost Legacy regularly between their meetings.

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1 Comments:

Blogger PRODOS said...

Greetings Dr Kennedy,

This is Prodos, the organiser of the Melbourne based DISCOVER CAPITALISM club @ http://www.meetup.com/prodos

However, if I ever get to Melbourne (again) I would hope to attend a meeting of the ‘Discover Capitalism’ club ...

We'd love to have your company!

I hope you enjoyed our beloved Melbourne when you were here before. :-)

... unless I am told by Lost Legacy readers that its actual practice is different from its billing.

Oh, no fear, sir! The meetings are, in character and content, exactly as billed.

I know because I chair them, and enforce very strict guidelines for respectful discussion and exploration of topics.

More importantly, I bend over backwards to encourage questioning. Not the fake (and in my view, pointless) questioning of mere polemics, but questioning powered by a deep love of truth and a dedication to working out what is right.

Meanwhile, members of the 'Discover Capitalism' club may want to discover something about Adam Smith and his Works from reading Lost Legacy regularly between their meetings.

As it happens, I've been reading and enjoying (enormously) all your online essays at your main site, and working my way through your blog posts. (When suddenly I came across this post mentioning my club!)

Just this afternoon I printed out "Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: From Metaphor to Myth
Gavin Kennedy" and started working my way through it!

I hope, very soon, to purchase your two books on Adam Smith.

Thanks for your insights and scholarship! :-)

Best Wishes,

PRODOS
(Currently visiting Cincinnati, Ohio with gorgeous Yankee wife.)

9:30 p.m.  

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