Tuesday, August 02, 2016


A reader joins a debate first published in February 2008. If you can, scroll through the Lost Legacy Blog Roll [Column on the right] back to 2008.

I get similar posts about this time of year (usually about Noam Chomsky) which I assume is from a regular Summer School gathering or something similar.

 Isaac Marmolejo said...
And expanding from Brain Shapiro's comment, I think Hamilton's call for tariffs are partially due to Smith's book too. Hamilton WAS NOT a protectionist, he called for moderate tariffs, as did Smith. I dont know if you are aware but protectionist policies were advocated by his most main political rivals, specifically Madison, who set the first protection tariff in American history. It should be stressed that just because one advocates moderate tariffs, does not mean that they are protectionist.

Hi Isaac Marmolejo
Thank you for your 2016 message. 
It raises some interesting points. Since February 2008, when Lost Legacy discussed Hamilton and List, I have lost touch with the arguments on List’s protectionism which I discussed in my 2008 post.  I have also mislaid my copy of List’s book (after two down-sizing episodes as the family have left the nest for their own houses) but I shall commence a more thorough search of my current, much smaller, home (down from 16 rooms + library and garage/office to 6 rooms and no garage) which has split-up my books from an impressive academic Library to several single bookcases.
Brritish foreign policy was aimed at securing overseas territories, protected by a large Royal Navy and land armies, and by emigration to economically develop them, and, crucially, to deprive other European rival powers of them as sources of their economic development. This policy fed into protecting the British Isles - no easily-crossed land borders by rival armies (France, Holland, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Italy, and the German states) - and long sea routes protected and controlled by British naval supremacy.
Adam Smith’s views were not solely UK government oriented - though he understood what the Navigation Acts (since Cromwell’s times) were about strategically. His ideas of free trade were theoretical and not descriptive of actual UK policy. Even after Wealth of Nations was published (1776), Smith’s ideas on free trade were ignored by most UK governments and by the behaviours of merchants and manufacturers. 
Smith’s actual influence was quite small, where not ‘re-invented’’ by subsequent modern economists (‘invisible hand’ and all that nonsense).

From memory, List was critical of Smith’s policies on free trade, especially on the differences between Smith and actual UK trade policies. 


Blogger Alan said...

"Smith’s actual influence was quite small".

If you haven't read a copy, it is worth finding:

Fleischacker, Samuel. “Adam Smith’s Reception among the American Founders, 1776-1790.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, 59, no. 4 (October 1, 2002): 897–924.

Fleischacker also argues that before 1790 the influence of Wealth was quite limited in Britain, France and Germany. He argues that its main influence was in America, where its impact on political debate was much broader than matters of trade.

6:35 pm  

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