Adam Smith Thinks Donald Trump Sucks

(Cross posted from comment 101 at Crooked Timber diary, Comment 101, Towards An Economics of Unhappiness)
http://crookedtimber.org/2011/04/12/towards-an-economics-of-unhappiness/#comment-355116s of Unhappiness)

(Wealth of Nations quote courtesy of Brad DeLong) http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/04/what-is-human-nature-two-views-from-adam-smith.html

What Is Human Nature? Two Views from Adam Smith:


But in Book III things change. Humans are no longer naturally sociable beings with a propensity to trade seeking material comfort. Instead, they are creatures of "rapine and violence," desperate for "power and protection," vain and seeking luxury, unwilling to take pains to pay attention to small savings and small gains, loving to domineer, mortified at even the thought of having to persuade his inferiors.  (hmmmm. Sound like anyone we know who has a bad hair day every day?)


This is a different "Adam Smith problem" than is usually posed. And, I think, it is in many ways more interesting than the standard Adam Smith problem from Book III of the Wealth of Nations:

 

 

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Adam Smith Thinks Donald Trump Sucks

(Cross posted from comment 101 at Crooked Timber diary, Comment 101, Towards An Economics of Unhappiness)
http://crookedtimber.org/2011/04/12/towards-an-economics-of-unhappiness/#comment-355116s of Unhappiness)

(Wealth of Nations quote courtesy of Brad DeLong) http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/04/what-is-human-nature-two-views-from-adam-smith.html

What Is Human Nature? Two Views from Adam Smith:


But in Book III things change. Humans are no longer naturally sociable beings with a propensity to trade seeking material comfort. Instead, they are creatures of "rapine and violence," desperate for "power and protection," vain and seeking luxury, unwilling to take pains to pay attention to small savings and small gains, loving to domineer, mortified at even the thought of having to persuade his inferiors.  (hmmmm. Sound like anyone we know who has a bad hair day every day?)


This is a different "Adam Smith problem" than is usually posed. And, I think, it is in many ways more interesting than the standard Adam Smith problem from Book III of the Wealth of Nations:

 

 

There's more...

My Democratic Congressman is Wrong!

Earlier in the week or possibly last week, I read that one of my WA state Congressmen was pushing for a yes or no vote on the "free trade" deals with South Korea and Colombia. Who is that person? Why that would be Rep. Adam Smith of WA State.

So today I see the same story pop up again and felt that I needed to say something!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080522/pl_n m/usa_trade_congress_dc

I know that WA state exports a lot of goods to South Korea and we all know that this country and WA state import a lot of goods from South Korea. So WHY do we need another "free trade" deal, especially with South Korea?

I 100% oppose ANY "free trade" deals until they are looked at as "Fair Trade" deals and then I would still be suspect of these deals, especially if they are done during the bush regime or pushed by the bush regime!

More Below...

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Independence Revisited

Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations is a surprisingly subversive book, or at least, it could be taken that way. The following excerpt praises the human tendency to specialize and exchange services, but it also points up how very far we are as humans from the 'rugged individualist' myth that animates the hardly-ever-Right. Consider that we are not dogs.

... But without the disposition to truck, barter and exchange, every man must have procured to himself every necessary and conveniency of life which he wanted. All must have had the same duties to perform and the same work to do, and there could have been no such difference of employment as could alone give occasion to any great difference of talents.

As it is this disposition which forms that difference of talents, so remarkable among men of different professions, so it is this same disposition which renders that difference useful. Many tribes of animals acknowledged to be all of the same species derive from nature a much more remarkable distinction of genius, than what, antecedent to custom and education, appears to take place among men. By nature a philosopher is not in genius and disposition half so different from a street porter, as a mastiff is from as greyhound, or a greyhound from a spaniel, or this last from a shepherd's dog. Those different tribes of animals, however, though all of the same species, are of scarce any use to one another. The strength of the mastiff is not in the least supported either by the swiftness of the greyhound, or by the sagacity of the spaniel, or by the docility of the shepherd's dog. The effects of those different geniuses and talents, for want of the power or disposition to barter and exchange, cannot be brought into a common stock, and do not in the least contribute to the better accommodation and conveniency of the species.

Each animal is still obliged to support and defend itself, separately and independently, and derives no sort of advantage from that variety of talents with which nature has distinguished its fellows. ...

Thoughts?

If the passage doesn't provoke any sentiment of yours, consider this an open thread.

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The Industrial Revolution Unplugged: An Interview With Author Gregory Clark

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


The topic below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal as well as the Independent Bloggers Alliance, The Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.


Our current world of globalization, technological advancement and the widening schism between rich and poor stems from the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution is arguably the most important historical watershed in human history. So why did it happen in eighteenth-century England? Furthermore, how come the unprecedented economic growth it produced only served to make parts of the world even poorer?

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