Friday, July 15, 2005

Another Letter to Peter Asmus

To the Editor of Buffalo News, Buffalo, USA on the syndication of thearticle by Peter Amus (mis)quoting Adam Smith against nuclear power ((see also blog for 4 July below):


Peter Asmus is incorrect about Adam Smith “rolling in his grave” in Edinburgh over government funded nuclear power.

Smith advocated government funding when it would not be viable for private persons to do so, if there were benefits to national commerce. Smith’s large projects were national roads, canals, harbors and street lighting, all beyond the commercial reach of 18th century individuals. He considered that “without government intervention there would be no” such projects completed.

Smith remained skeptical of their management (private commissioners or government employees). He favored users being charged fees for the benefits they obtained.

Peter Asmus drags Smith’s name into his attempt to embarrass President Bush’s “love of free markets and disdain for regulation and subsidy”, itself a tenuous statement. Adam Smith was never a free market or laissez faire ideologue.

Gavin Kennedy


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