Thursday, July 03, 2014


The Adam Smith Institute Changes its Blog’s name from “The Pin Factory Blog” to, er, … “Blog”.
I was not sure when I clicked on the ASI, as I do daily, and found a re-designed page, simply headed “Blog”.  If the change was announced, I must have missed it, which was worrying.  [Disclosure: I am a Fellow of ASI]. I also seemed to be missing Tim Worstall’s regular and excellent posts, usually my first ‘must read’ of the day.
However, this morning I searched for ‘Tim’ on google and up came the ASI page with the simple title ‘Blog’, and Tim’s, 3 July post: “Danny Dorling tells us what inequality is really all about” (definitely worth your read). 
That’s OK then.  All’s right in my world …
But now I wonder why the change in name and why, apparenly, it was not announced and why the change was made.
Be clear, my concerns are not about some token fettish of mine about the ‘Pin Factory’. Frankly, I was not all that enamoured with the ‘Pin Factory’ name for an ASI Blog some time back when the ASI Blog page was ‘freshened up’ (again unannounced).  
At the time, I was posting articles on Lost Legacy on the ‘pin factory’ related to some extensive correspondence I was then having with a reader who was not happy with the arithmetic of the pin factory in Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” (Chapter 2 of Book 1).  
This led me to examine more closely the evolution of the Pin Factory story from encyclopedias in England and France in the 1730s-1750s and Adam Smith’s treatment of them by using the same or similar arithmetic, apparently taken from them (without acknowledgement).  
This period also coincided with my reading Jean-Louis Peaucelle’s paper in the European Journal of the History of Economic Ideas at a conference of the HET (UK) - in 2009? - with whom I have since exchanged correspondence a few times - on the ‘Pin Factory’ and Adam Smith.  Peaucelle’s scholarly case in his several published papers is well made and I think must be accepted. Smith took the arithmetic from those books.
At present, I am writing part 2 of my response to Michael Perelman, a scholar in California (Part 1, last week) on Adam Smith’s writings on the division-of-labour. This has been delayed by domestic chores and other interruptions, plus I am advised by the physio’s not to sit writing for longer than 45 minute at a time. 
My Part 2 paper sets the division-of-labour into its proper context as Smith’s most significant innocent insight into the deep evolution of the human species (certainly a deeper past than was realised at the time or afterwards until the 20th century).  
The ‘Pin Factory’ story is a diversion from the real significance of the DoL as Mankind’s contribution to completing its journey from the ‘Forest’ to modern society. (Oops! my 45 minutes are up - back in a couple of hours, as I’m off to lunch at il Costello’s (Castle Terrace, Edinburgh) for our 41st wedding anniversary …).  The Italian restaurant info is for visitors to Edinburgh, Scotland - enjoy!

More in my Part 2 paper soon.


Blogger Thornton Hall said...

Do they still have a beautiful young woman who carries a giant pepper mill around to each table as their food is served? I ate at il Costello's once in 1994 while on a Dartmouth College Foreign Study Program in Philosophy.

1:16 am  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Thanks Thornton Hall for your memories of Il Costello.
The good news is that the 'beautiful young woman iw now the mother of Guiseppi's children and now his daughter is running room service.
The bad news is that Guiseppi has had a brain tumour recently and may have to retire soon and he's only 54.
I assured her we were shocked and saddened at this news. He and his family have been part of my family' up bringing - we've been holding all the family's birthday parties there since he opened 1992 and I have taken MBA student parties there until recently when I retired for the Business School.
PS il Costello has been refurbished recently in the very best Italian design style ...

1:10 pm  

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