Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well Meaning But Probably Hopeless Aims

Terry Bell, a South Africa-based journalist commentator and author specialising in political and economic analysis and labour matters,.writes on Terry Bell Writes (HERE):

Nothing wrong with Terry’s ambitious project of changing almost everything in the world capitalist system and the political states that operate in it, but he should get some basic facts correct. He drags in Adam Smith into his robust critique of finance capital but he uses modern myths about Smith and the IH metaphor to do so.

Time to slay the market monster”

“The world has obviously long outgrown the small, village-based enterprises that existed when the economist Adam Smith wrote his seminal The Wealth of Nations in which he postulated the existence of an “invisible hand” that would moderate supply and demand, prices and profits, to the benefit of all. Only the “invisible hand” came to be — and still is — claimed to be “the markets”. That these are far from invisible and essentially anarchic is simply ignored.

Terry claims that Smith “postulated” in Wealth Of Nations that an ‘invisible hand’ moderated “supply and demand, prices and profits, to the benefit of all. “ As I have explained regularly on Lost Legacy Smith most certainly did not “postulate” any such things - I challenge Terry to find such a “postulate” anywhere in Wealth Of Nations associated with his single use of the metaphor of “an invisible hand’ (it’s on page 456 of the Oxford University Press 1976 edition – and in Book IV, chapter 2 of every other edition ever published since the original first edition in 1776).

Where this leaves Terry’s ambitious critique I shall leave to him to explain. Readers can make their own minds up by following the link and reading the substance of Terry's post.



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