Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Adam Smith Favoured Publicly Funded Public Works

"KerPlonka" (HERE):

Economic Miscellany"

Given that infrastructure in Canada is generally agreed to be in bad need of some work, given the economic value infrastructure has, and given that even Adam Smith was in favour of certain kinds of infrastructure spending, this is a hell of a lot better than spending money on John Turner-style make work programs or government day cares or whatever.”

I was struck by the unnecessary word ‘even’ in front to Adam Smith: “even Adam Smith was in favour of certain kinds of infrastructure spending”.

Presumably ‘Kerplonka’ has little familiarity with the Adam Smith (born in Kirkcaldy in 1723) who was author of Wealth Of Nations (1776; Book V, to be exact).

Maybe he is more familiar with the ‘Adam Smith’ invented in Chicago in the 1950s, who is credited with all kinds of ideas he never held.

The Kirkcaldy Adam Smith, on the other hand, was very much in favour of public works and public institutions that facilitated commerce, which he considered should be funded by government in their construction, and that their management and maintenance should be funded by some combination of public and private monies, including by charges for those who used the facilities (with the rich paying more where practicable).

It is pleasing to see that the Kirkcaldy Adam Smith is coming to the attention of the good people of Canada. I hope their interest in the genuine article will continue.



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