Monday, January 24, 2011

Adam Smith On Command Over Labour

I re-opened my laptop and found the following item saved and ready for posting but for some reason I left it out (among some other posts), so, better late than never, I post it today.

Randall” contributes to a “debate” in The Standard (New Zealand) a ‘collective’ who ‘share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement’. It shows Psychopaths make the best capitalists (HERE):

He writes:

“as the great adam smith opined in his theory of moral sentiments the thing that most humans desire is command over labour.
i.e. they want to be the boss.
in other words they have a psychological desire to cover their own inadequacies by dumping on others.
nasty but true and the recored in New Zealand bears it out.”

Yes, I know. It’s a silly debate among a bunch of dreamers, and not worth bothering about. But “Randall” is so crass he hasn’t understood that which he writes about. He parades his supposed command of Adam Smith’s ideas by slipping in “his theory of moral sentiments” and getting those ideas completely wrong.

Smith’s point was that by producing one’s own product or delivering one’ own service in an exchange-driven commercial society, one seeks to have command over the products of other people’s labour.

That is not the same as “they want to be the boss”. Rather, they want to be an exchange partner of others, transacting for the products/services produced by others by “truck, barter, or trade”.

Randall should look at himself for signs of a “psychological desire to cover their own inadequacies by dumping on others”, in this case, Adam Smith.

At a minimum, Randall should read and understand Smith’s books. I am sure that this admonition is among the “values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement” in New Zealand, and in the prouder traditions of its Labour Movement.



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