Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Coolest Wristwear in Town

At the risk of offending some, might I recommend this high-fashion accessory? The Adam Smith Institute is sending complimentary ones out to anyone who e-mails.

Discussions - 10 Comments

Does this give the Left a chance to take the patriotic high ground in advocating "Buying American"? I always knew "free" marketers were secretly a part of the "hate America first" crowd. :) (Actually it is encouraging to know that those on the right do in fact acknowledge that there is such a thing as class).

I’ll pass...clearly this institute doesn’t understand its namesake very well. ...and I quote:

Humanity may in this case require that the freedom of trade should be restored only by slow gradations, and with a good deal of reserve and circumspection.Were those high duties and prohibitions taken away all at once, cheaper foreign goods of the same kind might be poured so fast in the home market as to deprive all at once many thousands of our people of their ordinary employment and means of subsistence. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

If Smith and Ricardo could see what is happening to America today THEY WOULD BE HORRIFIED. I’m happy to argue the point if you’d like.

I doubt anyone but the most illogical demagogues would look at a wealthy country with low unemployment and come to THAT conclusion.

The bands are undoubtedly cool but likewise the sensibilities of the poorer countries are directly attacked, that is certainly not fair. So atleast i m not interested in buying the one.

Luckily for the troll, his post was polite, so I will answer it. If I understand correctly, he/she seems to think that rational people will view an affluent nation’s economy as a giant global welfare program. Well, in fact most "reasonable" people have abhorred that view in the past, and certainly both Ricardo and Smith viewed a nation’s economy as primarily designed to benefit that nation’s population. You’ll notice in the Smithian quote above he says "our people." Smith and Ricardo were nationalists, and their theories were couched in the logic of nationalist utilitarianism.

I might point out that the other view, that we can "afford" to help developing countries with liberal trade policies, is nothing but Cobdenian arrogance. It will lead to ruin, as it did for the English in the later half of the 19th Century.

Luckily for the troll and America’s workers, the quoted material bears no resemblance to the U.S. economy.

Oh, now that IS a trollish comment...a drive-by snipe without a shred of evidence. Have you looked at industrial employment lately? How about income inequality statistics? Be ignorant on your own time...and stop leaking on the floor, dammit!

I can’t handle all this insight.

I agree with you Dain... to an extent. After all Adam Smith does say that...previous to saying that he says this:

"The case in which it may sometimes be a matter of deliberation, how far, or in what manner it is proper to restore the free importation of foreign goods, after it has been interrupted, is, when particular manufactures, by means of high duties or prohibitions upon all foreign goods which can come into competition them, have been so far extended as to employ a great multitude of hands."

Thus Adam Smith is in effect interested in seeing people in a broader light. He is cautious when it comes to the ill effects that abrupt changes may bring. On the other hand if you countinue reading the Smith from the point in IV you quoted...I think you will find that he is largely cautiously dismissive of the general "all hell will break loose" views of the protectionists. Smith says that in all probability the anticipated disorder will be less than commonly anticipated.

Smith was a Nationalist? In what sense?(I don’t know enough to dispute your assertion about Ricardo)

As for helping other developing countries... well lets just say that I agree with you that development economics is hubris(free trade isn’t charity...it is selfish mutual exchange for mutual benefit...and from what I do know about Ricardo and comparative advantage...well I think he would agree.) I don’t know about the logic of "affording" to help developing countries...but if you ask me our fiasco in Iraq is the result of this sort of "Isothymic"(mushy/crunchy/ compassionate) thinking. I liked your post on what you would do in foreign affairs if you were president...I am getting quite sick of all the patty cake. Lets have a foreign policy that really serves american interests. I just more or less disagree that forgoing the comparative advantage inherent in free trade is ever really to our advantage except in the rarest cases.

Thought about it, John. No easy one-off quotation I can provide to illustrate Smith’s or Ricardo’s appeal to nationalist interests. There are people who have said they were, but that’s not the same thing as reading it and concluding that for yourself. So...grab some coffee and refresh your memory...Smith on a summer day. Couldn’t do much better.

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