Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Blog Author 'Replies' to Lost Legacy, Sort Of ....

The author of the Blog which I commented on the other day (see Probaway – Life Hacks): ‘How Adam Smith’s invisible hand might help us avoid Doomsday’, Thursday 24 July, has ‘replied’ indirectly to my adding the full quotation from Moral Sentiments to his selected use of the first part only (HERE)

I have commented on his Blog, which comment I reproduce below:

One Response to “The little finger on Adam Smith’s invisible hand.”

1. Gavin Kennedy, on July 26th, 2008 at 11:24 pm Said:

"I think you make your case by ignoring the first sentence: “would a man of humanity be willing to sacrifice the lives of a hundred millions of his brethren, provided he had never seen them?”

Smith is talking about ‘a man of humanity’ and not every single person on the planet.

He was well aware of the prevalence of selfish, even ‘rapacious’ men of inhumanity. You go further and talk about ‘most people’ as if you have interviewed ‘most people’, when clearly you have not.

You have also interpolated far too much in Smith’s use of a well-known metaphor in the 18th century of ‘an invisible hand’ (scroll down my web site for details). On [the] single occasion he used the metaphor in Wealth Of Nations he was talking about ‘risk aversion’ and the whole is the sum of its parts (hardly 'gigantic unseen, even unknown and perhaps even unknowable processes’, and on the single occasion in Moral Sentiments he referred to [the] absolutely necessary requirement that rich landlords had to feed the ‘thousands they employed’ if their fields were to be planted, tended, and harvested each season.

Your poem is interesting, but it is a poem of your mood and not reality.”

[Readers of Lost Legacy interested in my exposition of the role of the invisible hand in Adam Smith’s works may apply to me: gavinAT negwebDoTcom introducing themselves and I shall send them a file copy of my paper: 'Adam Smith and the invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth' July 2008]


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