Saturday, June 28, 2014


Wazambon writes (23 June)  HERE:
The Motley Fool” (‘to Educate, Amuse, & Enrich). 
"In fact, I believe that the theory of natural selection should be viewed as an extended analogy – whether conscious or unconscious on Darwin’s part I do not know – to the laissez faire economics of Adam Smith"
That was exactly the argument made during the Gilded Age to justify the exploitation of workers by the rich. It was nature's way, after all... survival of the fittest.”
Adam Smith did not mention the words ‘laissez-faire’ at all.  It was not part of his moral philosophy nor of his political economy. 

His epigones attributed ‘laissez-faire’ to Smith in the 19th century and still do so today, and it was popularised for political reasons by political agitators on behalf of Mill and Mine owners, often for causes that Smith was unlikely to have supported. 
Smith believed in Natural Liberty for all, and not just for the employers and government legislators.
Also Charles Darwin's theories of evolution are not best summarised as "survival of the fittest", including its implications for racial interpretations of the "fittest" and the lessons of human history. 


Blogger airth10 said...

Smith many not have mentioned 'laissez-faire' but the idea does come through in his attitude to business activity.

Didn't Smith go to France where he met a famous economist who used the term?

Darwin was inspired by Smith. He was also inspired by Hegel and his idea about change, that it is a necessary and natural process.

4:27 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...


The assumption among ideological commentators, endorsed, or at least not corrected, by modern economists, is that Wealth Of Nations is a major argument for "laissez-faire". That Smith never mentioned laissez-faire anywhere in his Works or Correspondence (or in any third-party reports ought to be regarded as conclusive evidence that he did not accept it as policy. The French words, laissez-faire, were uttered in the 1600s and the spokesman spoke them to Colbert, the French Minister, referring t him 'leaving us (the merchants) alone'. It did not refer to consumers.
The French philosophers Smith met in France did not convince Smith (or appear to have mention it to hum. Dr Quesnay, their leader, did not mention it in his manifesto for the French Economy.
These facts preclude your conclusions

8:48 am  

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