Wednesday , July 15 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Adam Smith

Tag Archives: Adam Smith

1776…

… was quite a year. In this essay for the Independent Institute I applaud the words of Thomas Jefferson and of Adam Smith. A slice: It’s often said that America’s founders had “faith” in freedom. But because of Smith’s work, a better term is confidence in freedom. Smith explained how private property rights, freedom of contract, economic competition, and market prices peacefully direct each individual who is pursuing his own goals to achieve those goals only by helping countless other...

Read More »

Some Links

Eric Boehm highlights three things to know about the new NAFTA (the “USMCA”), which took effect on Wednesday. A slice: Although Trump’s supporters sometimes claim that the president is actually pursuing a radical free-trade agenda and only using protectionist tactics to achieve it, the USMCA is strong evidence that Trump would prefer to see more barriers to trade. For example, the administration pushed for the inclusion of stricter rules that make it more difficult for cars and car parts...

Read More »

Some Links

Ian Rowe writes beautifully, in today’s Wall Street Journal, about the arrogance and dangers of the ignorant racism that today parades as enlightenment. A slice: The narrative that white people “hold the power” conveys a wrongheaded notion of white superiority and creates an illusion of black dependency on white largess. This false assignment of responsibility, while coming from an authentic desire to produce change, can create a new kind of mental enslavement. Glenn Loury, a Brown...

Read More »

Adam Smith: Myths and Realities

The Reality Behind the Myth Adam Smith’s most ardent critics generally start their attacks on Smith’s system of political economy by pointing to his reliance on “self-interest” as the predominant, if not sole, human motivation activating market exchanges. Real human beings, critics insist, are far more complex in their motivations. Adam Smith would agree, to the chagrin of Smith’s critics. Nevertheless, to dismiss Smith, critics are inextricably drawn to a favored pithy passage in The...

Read More »

Another Open Letter to Robert Lighthizer

Mr. Robert LighthizerUnited States Trade RepresentativeWashington, DC Mr. Lighthizer: You call for the U.S. government to adopt industrial policy. And of course you insist that such a policy would result in splendid outcomes. Yet nowhere do you indicate how you and other government officials would get the information necessary to enable your schemes to outperform the competitive market processes that you propose to displace. This omission is fatal to the intellectual credibility of your...

Read More »

Quotation of the Day…

… is today a repeat, but a repeat that is warranted because a herd of intellectuals and politicians, left and right, is now grazing on some psychotic substance that creates the delusion that government officials are sufficiently informed and benevolent to be trusted with the power to override market processes with industrial policy; this timely quotation is from Book IV, chapter 2, paragraph 10 of Adam Smith’s magisterial 1776 work, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of...

Read More »

The Value of the Price System is Priceless

In my latest column for AIER I again sing praises that cannot be sung too often – namely, the praises of market prices. A slice: This system of prices and wages conveys reasonably reliable information to each individual about the consequences that will be experienced not only by her, but also by other people – most of them complete strangers – as a result of her choice of how to use her resources. And because the value of each person’s resources generally rises when that person uses her...

Read More »

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 4 of the 1999 Liberty Fund edition of James M. Buchanan’s and Gordon Tullock’s seminal 1962 book, The Calculus of Consent: In a genuine sense, economic theory is also a theory of collective choice, and, as such, provides us with an explanation of how separate individual interests are reconciled through the mechanism of trade or exchange. Indeed, when individual interests are assumed to be identical, the main body of economic theory vanishes. If all men were equal interest...

Read More »

Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 6-7 of Robert Higgs’s indispensable – and now more relevant than ever – 1987 book, Crisis and Leviathan (footnote deleted): Reading between the lines of many historical works, one encounters the Modernization Hypothesis. It maintains that a modern urban-industrial economy simply must have an active, extensive government; that laissez-faire in the late twentieth century is unimaginable. Declamations about the absurdity of horse-and-buggy government in the Space Age or the...

Read More »

Some Links

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is flabbergasted by the rank hypocrisy of Marco Rubio accusing the private sector of being insufficiently attentive to the long-run. A slice: The senator writes that “any prudent policymaker should recognize that both efficiency and resiliency are values we should prioritize and seek to balance.” I assume the “we” is other politicians like him. However, no entity has so surely proven itself to be less interested in the long run than...

Read More »