Saturday, November 07, 2015

LOONY TUNES Nos 121 AND 122

LOONY TUNES no. 122
1
Scrivener110 (no information) posts (3 Ocober) HERE 
“Family The Truly Invisible Hand”
2
Lars Scall posts (3 October) HERE
“discusses his optimism for gold and “the invisible hand” of the Plunge Protection Team”
in “The Physical Gold Markets In The East Will Prevail”
3
Dave Elbert posts (8 November) in the Elbert Files in Business Record HERE
“Capitalism isn't always pretty”
“James Grant in the Wall Street Journal argued that it is better to have interest rates set by what Adam Smith described as “the invisible hand” of the marketplace than by the “all too visible hand” of the Fed.” 
Comment
People like Dave Elbert and James Grant are paid good money to write factually but they also purvey absolute nonsense, as in the case above. Adam Smith never described as ““the invisible hand” of the marketplace. Some modern economists assert, without evidence, that Adam Smith used the invisible hand metaphor in such a manner. He did not. James and Dave have made it up. 

LOONY TUNES no. 121
1
Novices Australia + Peter Cai (Chinese Spectator) + Hot Healines (24-25 August) HERE 
”Beijing has lost the arm wrestle with the invisible hand of the market”
2
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang asks his political rivals: HERE
“If you can accept communism, why not Islam?”
“Similarly, he said the people accepted BN, MCA and MIC which promotes capitalism, an ideology pioneered by the Englishman Adam Smith.”
Comment
From a post by an ambitious Asian politician seeking to govern his county who demonstrates his ignorance of history and modern facts. The obvious response is to note that Adam Smith was never an “Englishman” - he was born in 1723 in Kirkcaldy, in Fife, a county in Scotland, making him a Scotsman. He occasionally lived in England but never long enough to be confused as an Englishman, spending most of his life in Scotland. He also visited France for some months.
Moreover, Smith never “pioneered capitalism” - he never knew the word ‘capitalism, which was first used in English in William Thackeray in 1854 in his novel,The Newcomes, issued in weekly parts from 1853 to 55, though it is clear from its context that this refers to finance capital, rather than to a ‘system’. Financiers in 19th century novels tend to get a bad press; see also Trollope’s ‘The Way We Live Now’. 
Archival Note:
From “Lost Legacy”, 9 February, 2007:

“The origin of the word ‘capitalist’ is of much earlier vintage: in French, A. R. J. Turgot (1727-1781) used ‘capitaliste’ in his essay, ‘Reflection on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth’ (1769-1770), and William Godwin used its English version, ‘capitalist’, in his Political Justice (1794).”

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