Friday, September 04, 2009

Best Scot Contest

Yousuf Hamind writes Yapping Yousufs Yapping HERE (3 September)

In defence of Adam Smith

Yousuf makes the case for Adam Smith to be voted ‘Best Scot’ in a programme emanating from the STV channel and the Daily Record. Yousuf is unhappy that Adam Smith’s name is not in contention (from another source, I hear that David Hume is on the list).

He says:

Yes it is true that the right have hijacked it for their own ends but the truth is that they have missed the point of Adam Smith.

Yes it is true in the 'Wealth of Nations' he rallied against the idiotic selfishness of the Mercantile systems and government-sanctioned monopolies and promoted competitiveness and markets as the best route to prosperity for all but he also recognized the need for intervention and limits.

I've tried to avoid talking about the 'invisible hand.' But it has to be addressed, Yes Adam Smith did say that the invisible hand would guide agents in the economy to the best decision when they focused on their own individual aspirations but it was not a religious force, simply based in pure facts that when markets work efficiently there is no better way to secure efficiency

Yousuf claims to be a supporter of the Labour Party and his enthusiasm for Smith is infectious (follow the link).

He also follows the conventional modern line on the ‘invisible hand’ which readers of Lost Legacy will note is a generalization without actual support in Smith’s works, where it refers to a specific instance and not to a general rule. Smith was well aware of his suspicions about the behaviours of ‘merchants and manufacturers’, and the corresponding anti-competitive behaviours of legislators when persuaded by business lobbyists and wrong-header teories of mercantile political economy. He didn’t trust them to acting the public interest when they could narrow (preferably abolish) competition and raise prices against consumers.

However, while I was invited to participate in this exercise in the case of David Hume, I decided to decline. I see little purpose being served by such an exercise that would be justified by the time involved.

Of course, I wish Yousuf all the best in his endeavours.


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