Sunday, March 18, 2012

And They Call it Journalism!

Susan Estrich, a columnist, posts at the Richmond Register, Kentucky HERE

Gordon Gekko’s famous proclamation in the movie “Wall Street” that “greed is good” is not all that different from philosopher and economist Adam Smith’s politer endorsement of the public value of private self-interest.”

This is so wrong, it is embarrassing, or ought to be. Gordon Gekko, a fictional character from Hollywood, is perceived by Susan Estrich (no further details in the post) to be “not all that different” from Adam Smith’s “politer endorsement of the “public value of private interest”.

From where did she draw that absurd conclusion?

Certainly not from any acquaintance with anything that Adam Smith wrote in his “Theory Of Moral Sentiments” (1759) or his Wealth Of Nations” (1776). Has she read either of his Works? Or has she relied solely on what some modern economists, and Hollywood script writers, have asserted?

She appears to mix up Adam Smith with either, or both, of Dr Mandeville (“Private Vices: Public Benefits, 1724), which Smith described as “licentious”, or the writings of Ayn Rand (1950s) (“The Virtue of Selfishness”, etc.,).

Neither of these had anything in common with Adam Smith , neither was his moral philosophy, nor his writing on political economy, in any way “a politer endorsement” of their “licentious” views.

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