Monday, May 23, 2005

Smith's True Legacy

“Business cannot thrive in an island of wealth in a sea of poverty”
The Financial Express, Bombay, India 23 May 2005-05-23
Shailender Chaudhary

In which Chaudhary claims that Adam Smith advocated ‘laissez faire’ and the ‘invisible hand’.

My response:

Adam Smith did not advocate leaving "merchants and manufacturers" to do whatever they wanted. He never supported nor mentioned laissez faire.

"Wealth of Nations" is a polemic against leaving them alone to monopolise and act against the public interest.

His legacy was turned on its head as an alibi in the 19th-20th century by spokemen for mill and mine owners, especially in America.

Firms, no matter how mighty, are not above the law and should never be treated as such. Freedom within the law, subject to the restraints of justice and good behaviour, is Smith's true legacy.


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