Sunday, October 09, 2005

Kenya Correct; Chicago Very Incorrect

In a non-attributed information piece in the “The Standard”, Nairobi, Kenya, the authors states:

“It is the classical economist Adam Smith who taught the doctrine of taxation not punishing the producer but being passed on to the consumer.

The argument is that whereas production creates utility, consumption enjoys using the created utility.

Therefore consumers must pay for using the produced utility.”

This is a neat way of expressing it. It is nice to see adherence to the virtues of classical economics in Kenya. Now, if we could read the same in the USA that would really be exciting news.

I have come to the conclusion that the main source of errors in Smithian economics is from US campuses. Deirdre McCloskey’s pamphlet, “The Secret Sins of Economics”, mentioned here yesterday, reports that the University of Chicago – for many the home of Freidmanite economics – closed down its courses in the history of economics some years ago. That must be an act of wilful intellectual vandalism of the highest order.

As the brightest and best Chicago economists spread round US campuses on graduation, we can expect continued ignorance of the man whom they otherwise speak of in hushed tones, while quietly spreading nonsense about his political economy, invisible hands, laissez faire, and all.


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