Adam Smith and the Left
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This essay tries to absolve Adam Smith from left-wing criticism that he has established the mode of greed in Western societies. It lays stress on the fact that Smith's theory concerning the "invisible hand" was a scientific observation, and that it expressed natural law, something that is beyond the capacity of humans to control. To this end, the paper considers various issues raised in 'The Wealth of Nations', discusses how they were relevant to Britain and the world at the time of publication, and also how they continue to be relevant to this day. Furthermore, the paper points out that left-wing criticism derives from a misreading of Smith, and is due to a conflation of Smith's theories and capitalism. It argues that capitalism existed well before the time of Smith, and its course has nothing to do with Smith's discoveries. The underlying theme is that Smith's theory expresses freedom in economic life.
From the Paper:"The first thing to keep in mind when discussing Adam Smith's theory of the "invisible hand" is that Smith was foremost a moral philosopher and a social scientist, and by no means an economist in the modern sense. The modern economist usually functions in the capacity of a social policy advisor who is politically motivated. It is true that Smith offers advice to governments towards achieving prosperity, but this is only in the capacity of a moral philosopher. The substance of his findings is that economic life is governed by a simple principle, and his advocacy derives from the understanding that is it unwise to intercede in the path of natural law. This is the principle of laissez faire, that governments should not impose their designs of the economy of a country, and that even the cleverest idea is bound to be detrimental to prosperity, compared to that which comes naturally."
Sample of Sources Used:
- BRAUDEL, F., 1977. Afterthoughts on Material Civilisation and Capitalism. Trans. Patricia Ranum. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
- MACFARLANE, A., 2000. The Riddle of the Modern World: Of Liberty, Wealth and Equality. New York: St. Martin's Press.
- MARX, K., 1978. Capital, Volume Two. New York: Penguin Publishing.
- MCCLOSKEY, D.; A. KLAMER, 1996. The Value of Culture: On the Relationship Between Economics and Art. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
- MILLER, L.; J. COLEMAN; W. CONNOLLY; ALAN RYAN. 1991. The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Cite this Persuasive Essay:
Adam Smith and the Left (2009, May 19) Retrieved October 23, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/adam-smith-and-the-left-113907/
"Adam Smith and the Left" 19 May 2009. Web. 23 October. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/adam-smith-and-the-left-113907/>