Monday, December 16, 2013

Libels of Adam Smith


June Hemmingson on Albany Democrat Herald (9 December) HERE http://democratherald.com/news/opinion/mailbag/what-mandela-said/article_a559d23c-8ed2-53fd-ac4f-0999451bbac7.html
“Nelson Mandela quotes which corporate media may ignore”
“Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality. He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry.”
Comment
This is a strange quotation allegedly from Nelson Mandella (and perhaps from Ghandi too).
I certainly do not recognise its wording in anything Adam Smith wrote, such as “self interest and brute needs” though I do recognise in Smith’s writings the importance for society of “justice and equality”. 
How did June (or Ghandi and/or Mandella) manage to invert Adam Smith’s moral philosophy from his writings?
Where did Smith write anything remotely akin to the sentiments expressed as: “the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard”?  He favoured a high-wage economy for labourers, whose labours created everything that the rest of society enjoyed.
Has she read both of Smith’s “Theory of Moral Sentiments” (1759) and his “Wealth Of Nations” (1776)?
Adding Nelson Mandella to Ghandi’s name as authorities on Smith libels three men’s reputations. 
June is either innocent because she merely follows what modern epigones invent about others (especially about Adam Smith) and hasn’t read him either, or she is woefully misinformed.

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