Tuesday, May 05, 2009

An Attorney Caught Out in a Falsehood and the Jury Knows He is Economical With the Truth

At the The Wizard of Laws HERE:
“Selective Free Market Economics and the Decline of Freedom”

In the same year our nation was founded, Adam Smith published his magnificent The Wealth of Nations, in which he described the phenomenon of the "Invisible Hand," which holds that if consumers are allowed to choose freely what to buy and producers are allowed to choose freely what to sell and how to produce it, such a free market will result in prices and a distribution of goods and services that benefit all members of a community, and hence the community as a whole.

People are driven by self-interest and the desire to increase their own income and utility (a word economists use instead of satisfaction or happiness, to be measured in utils. Not kidding.). Since the income and happiness of society is the sum of individual incomes and happiness, all benefit from the individual pursuits motivated by the Invisible Hand

Obviously, the author (‘an attorney living and practicing in Michigan, also known as the Enchanted Mitten’) has not read Adam Smith’s Wealth Of Nations, though he comments on it with the authority of someone who implies he has (naughty, naughty and yes, a typical attorney-at-law who believes he is too smart to bother reading his briefing papers and leaves it to his, mostly unpaid, ‘devils’, as we call them in Scotland).

Is it worth showing the multiple errors in the attorney’s brief? OK, well briefly, everything written “his magnificent The Wealth of Nations” is utter rubbish, or in more polite legalise, is problematical.

If his client’s best interests depended on this attorney’s brilliance in the court room, she’d be looking at 20 years (I’ve watched tv dramatic court scenes, well, US versions, because in Scottish trials the advocates are kept under strict control by their training and the judge – no approaching the witness, no moving to the jury box to intimidate or smooze the jurors, no histrionics, no verbal tricks; instead, simply questions that relate to the evidence).

The metaphor of ‘an invisible hand’ did not relate, even closely to consumers or their choices. In fact, that subject is dealt with by Smith in Books I and II, and his single use of the metaphor of an invisible hand appeared only in Book IV, and had nothing to do with consumers, or markets.

Why did the attorney attempt to make a case that Smith said something he didn’t? I’d ask if I could but only after he has read Wealth Of Nations, and not just the likes of Wikipedia.



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