Friday, September 07, 2007

Repeated Denials and Doctoring Quotations Damage the Offenders and not Adam Smith

Juan Fernando Carpo comes back! He does not know when he is sawing the branch he is sitting on. He writes on Mises Blog:

"altogether different, are regulated by quite different principles, and bear no proportion to the quantity, the hardship, or the ingenuity of this supposed labour of inspection and direction. "

He is still talking about wages of management, which is not the risk-taking (uncertainty if we pick up the difference brilliantly made by Knight centuries later) that the capitalist brings to the process.

It is a sorry and monumental mistake on the part of Smith. James Mill was less of a communicator (we owe Smith a lot in the world) but more of an economist.

The editor of noted this, so you can deal directly with me, there is no need to call mother superior."


'The full sentence you partly quote, says exactly the opposite of what you claim for it, so I shall quote it in full, and emphasise the words you dropped and shall place them in square brackets, so that there is no room for ambiguity:

“[IN THE PRICE OF COMMODITIES, THEREFORE, THE PROFITS OF STOCK CONSTITUTE A COMPONENT PART ] altogether different from the wages of labour, and regulated by quite different principles.”
[WN p 67]

Of this you assert: ‘’he is still talking about the wages of management’! It says : ‘therefore the profits of stock’, which have nothing to do with how wages are formulated. Profits of stock(an 18th-century term for capital!) are not ‘wages of management’.

That you insist that the talking ‘about the wages of management’, despite Smith explicit and unambiguous denial that he is, suggests either that you continue to insist that he is because your original article requires him to be so and you hope continual denial (and doctoring) of the written evidence will somehow justify your assertion, or that you are deliberately misquoting him to make an unjustified criticism of Adam Smith because you believe he was somehow responsible for whatever Karl Marx made of his misreading of Adam Smith.

Either way it is a lapse in normal scholarly standards, and it is to that point I expressed surprise that the editor of Mises Blog did not draw your attention to your error. I am not sure what you mean by a ‘mother superior’ in this context.

That you report that ‘The editor of noted this’ surprises me, because although I have had occasional differences with Mises Blog on other misattributions of one or two of its authors on Adam Smith, overall I respect its quality standards.

It is also slightly worrying that you deliberately drop the words in square brackets in your above quotation from Wealth Of Nations. It is tantamount to a deliberate attempt to mislead readers who do not read the full quotation in Wealth Of Nations:

“[IN THE PRICE OF COMMODITIES, THEREFORE, THE PROFITS OF STOCK CONSTITUTE A COMPONENT PART ] altogether different from the wages of labour, and regulated by quite different principles.” [WN p 67]

Altogether different from the wages of labour’ is unambiguous. ‘Different’ in English means ‘not the same as’; ‘altogether different’ means there is no similarity whatsoever, therefore the ‘profits of stock’ are both different from wages’ and are ‘regulated by quite different principles’, which means, unambiguously, ‘quite different’, and not the same, ‘principles’.

In short, despite your continual denials of what Adam Smith actually said, compared to what you have imputed, Adam Smith did not compare profits from stock (or what the owner of the capital earned from owning the capital), it was NOT regarded by Smith as the same as a ‘salary’ or a ‘wage’.

The ‘grave error’ with ‘monumental’ consequences are Juan Fernando Carpio’s and not Adam Smith’s. Thankfully, though sadly, in view of his repeated denials, Juan Fernando Carpio’s errors will not have any consequences, except perhaps to his academic reputation.


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