Friday, February 06, 2009

Left Split Modern Rightwing from Adam Smith

Devilstower writes in the Daily Kos, HERE:

An obviously leftish rant against the right, entitled: “The President and Private Pay”, which includes this paragraph:

In the past, people were able to distinguish between capitalism and chaos, and understood that government intervention in the markets was needed when the organizing principle of the markets was sent askew. The idea that the market is inviolable and all-knowing didn't really start with Adam Smith. It's more a product of the Ronald Reagan-Ayn Rand fusion of the 80s -- the one that drove "hands off" legislation leading to the S&L meltdown. That was the source of inspiration for stripping away the protection that had kept the market sane since the last time these guys got their way.”

Comment
I make no claims for or against the political contents of Devilstower’s piece. The politics of another country are not my concern. The key sentence for me is:

The idea that the market is inviolable and all-knowing didn't really start with Adam Smith. It's more a product of the Ronald Reagan-Ayn Rand fusion of the 80s -- the one that drove "hands off" legislation leading to the S&L meltdown.”

At last, a recognition that the linking of Adam Smith to post-1950s mainstream economics was and remains a false attribution and is a step forward in re-asserting Adam Smith’s legacy.

So close is the identification of Adam Smith to Ayn Rand’s (among other modern ideologues) has led to immense confusion, even ensnaring Greenspan, who like so many leading commentators on these issues, linked the Adam Smith invented by Friedman, Arrow, and other Nobel prize-winners, to general laissez-faire policies with which there is little textual support in Wealth Of Nations or Moral Sentiments.

Of course, the Left also misread Adam Smith as some sort of social democrat on the basis of selective quotations from his polemics against mercantile political economy, still prevalent in the 21st century, as it was during the 15th-18th centuries.

But small steps by one side or the other add up, slowly and gradually, to rectifying these errors, and are to be welcomed no matter from which place on the political spectrum they come from.

Labels: , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a comment

<< Home