Friday, September 04, 2009

2,000 Post - On To the 3,000!

Lost Legacy appears to have ‘lost’ another week of postings, this time from my attendance at the 41st Annual Conference of the History of Economics at Manchester University and the ‘instability’ of my laptop (no continuous internet connection).

However, I am now back in Edinburgh for the duration and expect to get back to normal daily postings shortly.

This post is also my 2,000 since Lost Legacy began in February 2005 and for this I congratulate my readers, especially those who take the trouble to write in, either in criticism or praise – being criticised is always preferable to my being ignored, the latter of which was a fairly common feeling for many months when I first started!

If I am unaware of not meeting your requirements, I can only stumble on providing what you get, not what you prefer. Naturally, I have felt I am being a bit repetitive (invisible hands, for instance) but in the absence of guidance I have carried on. Some of the authors to whom I have directed my ire have responded and I have considered their points and found we have more common ground than my original outbursts implied. A few we agree to disagree.

The Blog began as a supplement to my book, Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy (2005: Palgrave Macmillan). When my second book was published, Adam Smith: a moral philosopher and his political economy (2008: Palgrave Macmillan), it widened my range (I think it is the better of the two books). Together, the 2,000 Blogs probably amount to the equivalent in words of a third book, though somewhat massively repetitive.

Currently, I am sketching the outline of a conventional third book but I have not ventured far beyond its outline sketch. Its theme is an elaboration of my paper, The Hidden Adam Smith in His Alleged Theology, (History of Economics Society Conference, Denver, June 2009) and, in my humble view, is quite original among contending books and journal articles that assert the contrary theme.

An alternative sketch for my third (fourth?) book is to tackle head-on the modern treatment of the invisible hand myth, from it origins in Chicago (1930s) and its infection of basic economics post-war by textbook writers (including Paul Samuelson), not necessarily by their deep convictions about what Adam Smith actually meant by the metaphor, but by what the metaphor came to mean to neoclassical economics (and to exponents of general equilibrium theory), and, perhaps more importantly, what their endorsement of the myth they affected to mean in the Cold War debate over the superiority of market economies versus Soviet-style planning.

Since the current crisis, many former believers in the myth have recanted (Greenspan) and many left-of-centre anti-market media commentators have become emboldened in their condemnations of mixed economies (there are very few examples of small, isolated economies (Hong Kong) conforming to laissez-faire principles).

As always, my research projects require the labours of more than one researcher (i.e., myself), but I feel if I put in the hours I can cope with the undoubted intellectually stimulating workload.

Perhaps, I should compile a survey questionnaire of readers to indicate where Lost Legacy can serve the interest of its readers (running at 4-500 unique hits per day. What do you think?

On then to the 3,000 post!



Blogger michael webster said...

I vote for the survey.

8:53 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...


Thanks for the suggestion.

I shall enquire as to the better way to do this.


10:52 am  

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