The case is made that standard neoclassical analysis, as represented by the work of Gary Becker, identifies no such antidote and thus cannot model the constructive liberal case. The best modern work on the issue is that of Amartya Sen and of James Buchanan. Sen's work and its relation to Smith's vision are examined. Adam Smith's intention was to leave a legacy.
He wanted to leave a philosophical contribution that would serve humankind.
He didn't imagine that he had discovered "truth. He simply hoped to enhance our understanding of what makes humankind function most constructively, and thereby to contribute to the constructive development of humankind. In every generation since his death in , Smith's disciples in economic thought have paid homage to him for the legacy he left. But sadly for Smith he's been studied more often than not as an economist, and not as the moral philosopher he was.
In doing so his disciples in economics have lost sight of an essential dimension of his moral philosophical vision--of his legacy. My objective here is to highlight that lost dimension of Smith's legacy and to make the case that retrieving this lost legacy can enrich our modem analysis.
In a larger sense my purpose is to demonstrate, with Smith as an example, that the history of economic thought is not just an antiquarian exercise in which antique works of folks long dead are studied as one might study 19th century steam engines--great innovations in a march toward progress that has passed them by.
Rather, the work of our predecessors offers a rich source of alternative ways of thinking about the human condition, and exploring these alternative visions can inform our current thinking on the subject. Section 2 explores Adam Smith's work. His view of philosophy, his story of the evolution of natural philosophy, and his distinction between natural and moral philosophy are reviewed. They constitute a sort of little nobility, who feel themselves interested to defend the property and to support the authority of their own little sovereign in order that he may be able to defend their property and to support their authority.
Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. After all, it was agriculture which provided for food surpluses, population growth, opportunities for specialisation and many other changes including the development of the tools for farming, house-building and manufactures of all kinds.
Thus for him it was a realisation that made very clear the role that the land played as the essential foundation of all life support and at that stage all 'wealth', including surplus wealth, what we might have hoped would be treated fairly as wealth for the common good, i. And yet, recognising the current state of domestic agriculture in the England, Scotland and Wales of his time, Smith saw obvious problems to be overcome both at home and abroad. You see, just as in the rest of Western Europe, in Britain since the fall of the Roman Empire the primacy of 'do it yourself' subsistence agriculture had been lost due to ongoing concentration of land ownership into fewer and fewer hands.
That had been caused by the grasping actions of warring landlords, and made worse through their practice of 'primogeniture' all 'their' land inherited by the eldest male and associated 'entails' - laws preventing its subsequent sale or gift. I'll quote just a little of Smith's comment on this widespread practice.
But in the present state of Europe, They are founded upon the most absurd of all suppositions, the supposition that every successive generation of men have not an equal right to the earth, and to all that it possesses; but that the property of the present generation should be restrained and regulated according to the fancy of those who died perhaps five hundred years ago.
Entails, however, are still respected through the greater part of Europe, in those countries particularly in which noble birth is a necessary qualification for the enjoyment either of civil or military honours. Entails are thought necessary for maintaining this exclusive privilege of the nobility to the great offices and honours of their country; and that order having usurped one unjust advantage over the rest of their fellow-citizens, lest their poverty should render it ridiculous, it is thought reasonable that they should have another present.
And as Smith realised, this outcome had extremely far-reaching consequences for the peoples of Europe, Britain included. Indeed the logical consequences of such land grabs are all too clear, - for the self-proclaimed 'prince' or 'lord' who claimed to 'own' the land not only did indeed have control over it, including all of its resources cultivable land, water, minerals, timber, etc but thereby he had complete control over all of its people. So you see, it was above all a grab for power and privatised wealth that ended up replacing the centralised power and wealth of the Roman Empire.
Now that's not to support the idea of ongoing 'empire rule' over the people of Europe. After all, Rome's fall with the cessation of its elitist slave-dependent society could and should have opened the way to a truly cooperative self-determination of its peoples. Sadly, instead Europe's opportunists took over, proclaiming their own lordship, ownership, and self-proclaimed 'laws' with which to determine the role and fate of 'their' citizens.
Thus determined were people's work, living conditions and if any rewards, - rewards the Lord found necessary to attract and hold 'loyal' attendants: bureaucrats, bodyguards, military commanders and so on. These became the Lord's elite citizens who shared something of his wealth, grand life-style, honours, etc. The rest were there simply to serve as personal servants, cultivators of the land, producers of food, tools, manufactures, - and do military service at the Lord's command.
And the recompense? As an aside, I'll mention Anatole France's book, 'Penguin Island' AF which, written in ironically humorous style, exposes the pretensions of those who took over and exploited the lives of Europeans in this way. It was all about an imaginary island on which penguins re-arranged their normally cooperative lives by introducing the kind of social strata which allowed the most aggressive to become 'Lords' served by underlying masses of lesser birds - an idea which somehow brings home the utter absurdity referred to by Smith. All the above sounds an extremely unjust, unfair system, which it was.
And to add to the contradictions and absurdities, these changes occurred during the early phases of Europe's so-called 'Christian era'. I say so-called since the Christian ethic was in complete contrast, its founder Jesus being the strongest advocate of what we Aussies call 'a fair go'! However, such contradictions did not prevent Europe's Lords, Princes and Kings proclaiming among their honours and special virtues, a sincere 'Christian faith', - and then, further use this claim to justify their exclusive powers as if God had so blessed them!
Indeed, the absurdity of the obscene levels of concentrated wealth and power extended to the official Christian church hierarchy itself, most excessively to its Renaissance Popes. NF Now, even although over time Europe's emerging nation-states multiplied, those additions occurred still in the context of the above-mentioned self-serving land 'ownership' situation. So this meant only that while the nations' landlords forfeited certain powers to their monarch king or queen, their regional control of the land and its people remained much as before.
Accordingly, in describing the practices of the newly expanding trading and manufacturing world of the 18th Century, he was well equipped to point to its excesses, imbalances and injustices. So, in his 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' , published , Smith took a very wide-ranging look at what went on. And don't worry about some oldly-worldly forms of expression, - just lean back and enjoy! As Smith realised, the ambitions of the rising class of Europe's merchants British compatriots included were to expand both their domestic and foreign trade.
So while on the one hand they sought to prevent foreign competition in their relatively limited home market, on the other they aimed at gaining inroads into as many foreign markets as possible, - and by whatever means. In both areas, since many were 'well-connected' to the government of the day, they sought and commonly received their government's assistance via legal and other channels. As Smith explained these all-too-successful arguments to convince their own governments were That foreign trade enriched the country, experience demonstrated to the nobles and country gentlemen as well as to the merchants; but how, or in what manner, none of them well knew.
The merchants knew perfectly in what manner it enriched themselves. It was their business to know it. But to know in what manner it enriched the country was no part of their business. This subject never came into their consideration but when they had occasion to apply to their country for some change in the laws relating to foreign trade. It then became necessary to say something about the beneficial effects of foreign trade, and the manner in which those effects were obstructed by the laws as they then stood.
To the judges who were to decide the business it appeared a most satisfactory account of the matter, when they were told that foreign trade brought money into the country, but that the laws in question hindered it from bringing so much as it otherwise would do. Those arguments therefore produced the wished-for effect. Thus, in Smith's view The maxim is so perfectly self-evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it. But in the mercantile system the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.
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And abroad by promoting their foreign trade, especially exports through overseas trading monopolies. Initially, following Vasco de Gama's explorations via the Cape of Good Hope to the East Indies in , foreign trade was augmented through a series of coastal 'trading posts', but before long such posts became the launching pads for deeper territorial expansion, exploitation and domination, as we shall see.
But first the Americas. Indeed, it was not long after Columbus' discovery of the Americas, that exactly such incursions occurred throughout the Caribbean islands and across the vast territories of Central and South America, - all with catastrophic results for their indigenous peoples.
And along with this aggressive intrusion came the pretense that its aim was to convert the 'natives' to Christianity. As described by Smith, "In consequence of the representations of Columbus, the council of Castile determined to take possession of countries of which the inhabitants were plainly incapable of defending themselves. The pious purpose of converting them to Christianity sanctified the injustice of the project.
But the hope of finding treasures of gold there was the sole motive which prompted him to undertake it; and to give this motive the greater weight, it was proposed by Columbus that the half of all the gold and silver that should be found there should belong to the crown. This proposal was approved of by the council. BC As also recognized by Smith, it was indeed the lure of gold, silver, land, novel crops sugar cane, corn, tobacco, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, bananas, etc.
That was ever so lucrative to Europe's elites, the winners, but understandably it came at a truly terrible cost to the losers, especially the natives of the Caribbean, Central and South America who were not only thus shamelessly exploited, but also suffered extremely high disease and death rates from European infections e. Although this incursion into the Americas had been led by Spain and Portugal, many other European powers soon followed. As Smith described it, The Spaniards, in virtue of the first discovery, claimed all America as their own; and though they could not hinder so great a naval power as that of Portugal from settling in Brazil, such was, at that time, the terror of their name, that the greater part of the other nations of Europe were afraid to establish themselves in any other part of that great continent.
The French, who attempted to settle in Florida, were all murdered by the Spaniards. But the declension of the naval power of this latter nation, in consequence of the defeat or miscarriage of what they called their Invincible Armada, which happened towards the end of the Sixteenth Century, put it out of their power to obstruct any longer the settlements of the other European nations. In the course of the Seventeenth Century, therefore, the English, French, Dutch, Danes, and Swedes, all the great nations who had any ports upon the ocean, attempted to make some settlements in the new world.
As will become clear, Smith's view was that "The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever. Thus, "Some nations have given up the whole commerce of their colonies to an exclusive company, of whom the colonists were obliged to buy all such European goods as they wanted, and to whom they were obliged to sell the whole of their own surplus produce. Indeed, as described by de las Casas, not only did the indigenous peoples of the Americas suffer grievously, but since the work of growing and harvesting sugar cane and most heavy labour in Europe's colonies was carried out by enslaved Africans, such added greatly to the truly terrible human costs.
BC Just a few examples from Smith's summing up of the case of the Americas, In shrinking the wealth available to all other parties, the very idea of monopoly is condemned, Smith explaining, "All the original sources of revenue, the wages of labour, the rent of land, and the profits of stock, the monopoly renders much less abundant than they otherwise would be. To promote the little interest of one little order of men in one country, it hurts the interest of all other orders of men in that country, and of all men in all other countries.
Clearly it is not just about 'free trade', it is about making trade that is both 'free and fair', and thus of mutual benefit across the board to all participants. Writing as he was at the very time American colonists were struggling with their home country, Britain, for such economic justice, Smith was acutely aware of what was at stake, he having a full grasp of its history. For, as he explained, It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.
Such statesmen, and such statesmen only, are capable of fancying that they will find some advantage in employing the blood and treasure of their fellow-citizens to found and maintain such an empire. The price, indeed, was very small, and instead of thirty years purchase, the ordinary price of land in the present times, it amounted to little more than the expence of the different equipments which made the first discovery, reconnoitred the coast, and took a fictitious possession of the country.
The land was good and of great extent, and the cultivators having plenty of good ground to work upon, and being for some time at liberty to sell their produce where they pleased, became in the course of little more than thirty or forty years between and so numerous and thriving a people that the shopkeepers and other traders of England wished to secure to themselves the monopoly of their custom.
Without pretending, therefore, that they had paid any part, either of the original purchase-money, or of the subsequent expence of improvement, they petitioned the parliament that the cultivators of America might for the future be confined to their shop; first, for buying all the goods which they wanted from Europe; and, secondly, for selling all such parts of their own produce as those traders might find it convenient to buy. For they did not find it convenient to buy every part of it.
Some parts of it imported into England might have interfered with some of the trades which they themselves carried on at home. Those particular parts of it, therefore, they were willing that the colonists should sell where they could; the farther off the better; and upon that account purposed that their market should be confined to the countries south of Cape Finisterre. A clause in the famous act of navigation established this truly shopkeeper proposal into a law.
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Accordingly he concludes, "Under the present system of management, therefore, Great Britain derives nothing but loss from the dominion which she assumes over her colonies. JH That is not to deny that there were individual 'winners' in all this, simply that as realized by both Smith and Hobson, the winners' gains were always overshadowed by the very great losses in both lives and treasure that their nation's population had to bear.
Moreover, with his clear insights Smith could see the inevitable outcome for Britain unless it implemented a far juster way of dealing with the people of its American colonies, - their taxes, freedom to trade and so on. However, with scant hope that Britain's government would agree, Smith went on to suggest a necessary compromise, such that, "If it was adopted, however, Great Britain would not only be immediately freed from the whole annual expence of the peace establishment of the colonies, but might settle with them such a treaty of commerce as would effectually secure to her a free trade, more advantageous to the great body of the people, though less so to the merchants, than the monopoly which she at present enjoys.
By thus parting good friends, the natural affection of the colonies to the mother country which, perhaps, our late dissensions have well nigh extinguished, would quickly revive. It might dispose them not only to respect, for whole centuries together, that treaty of commerce which they had concluded with us at parting, but to favour us in war as well as in trade, and, instead of turbulent and factious subjects, to become our most faithful, affectionate, and generous allies; and the same sort of parental affection on the one side, and filial respect on the other, might revive between Great Britain and her colonies, which used to subsist between those of ancient Greece and the mother city from which they descended.
They are very weak who flatter themselves that, in the state to which things have come, our colonies will be easily conquered by force alone. The persons who now govern the resolutions of what they call their continental congress, feel in themselves at this moment a degree of importance which, perhaps, the greatest subjects in Europe scarce feel.
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From shopkeepers, tradesmen, and attornies, they are become statesmen and legislators, and are employed in contriving a new form of government for an extensive empire, which, they flatter themselves, will become, and which, indeed, seems very likely to become, one of the greatest and most formidable that ever was in the world.
Of course, this is not just an example of Smith's clear insights, but of the historical record of repeated miscalculations by the world's elites as to how far inequities designed in their own favour can be pushed before, in oft-repeated 'blow-back' style, disaster encompasses them along with their intended victims. Lest one might think that the 'exclusive company of merchants' mind-set was focused solely on the exploitation of overseas native peoples, conveniently termed 'savages', Smith makes clear that exactly the same attitude applied towards the lesser folks at home.
For one thing, the approach to wage levels in factories and on farms indicated that no more than subsistence was aimed at. Using Britain's linen industry as example, Smith observes, "It is the industry which is carried on for the benefit of the rich and the powerful that is principally encouraged by our mercantile system. That which is carried on for the benefit of the poor and the indigent is too often either neglected or oppressed.
The answer seems at first sight abundantly plain. Servants, labourers and workmen of different kinds, make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, cloath and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged. Thus, "The exportation of the materials of manufacture is sometimes discouraged by absolute prohibitions, and sometimes by high duties. Thus, and never deterred by way of benign sanction, as in the following examples. They have not only obtained a monopoly against the consumers by an absolute prohibition of importing woollen cloths from any foreign country, but they have likewise obtained another monopoly against the sheep farmers and growers of wool by a similar prohibition of the exportation of live sheep and wool.
The severity of many of the laws which have been enacted for the security of the revenue is very justly complained of, as imposing heavy penalties upon actions which, antecedent to the statutes that declared them to be crimes, had always been understood to be innocent. But the cruellest of our revenue laws, I will venture to affirm, are mild and gentle in comparison of some of those which the clamour of our merchants and manufacturers has extorted from the legislature for the support of their own absurd and oppressive monopolies. Like the laws of Draco, these laws may be said to be all written in blood.
To prevent the breed of our sheep from being propagated in foreign countries seems to have been the object of this law. By the 13th and 14th of Charles II. But as the morals of the great body of the people are not yet so corrupt as those of the contrivers of this statute, I have not heard that any advantage has ever been taken of this clause. If the person convicted of this offence is not able to pay the penalties within three months after judgment, he is to be transported for seven years, and if he returns before the expiration of that term, he is liable to the pains of felony, without benefit of clergy.
Yet that claim Smith flatly contradicts, he recognising the greatly superior qualities of Spanish wool. Illustrated below we see how the very means through which Europe's 'exclusive companies of merchants' expected to grow ever wealthier at the expense of others, including their 'exclusive trading' competitors, led to international rivalries, serious friction and wars. However, as in the Americas, the first people to suffer were always the indigenous folk of the territories invaded. Yet, as Smith stressed, such an outcome was not inevitable: Europe's trading relationships with the people of foreign lands could and should have been very different, providing only that it was based on the principle of a cooperative trade that gave two-way equivalent benefit.
Such might have come about as he hoped, but as seen by Smith the historic possibilities compared to the grim reality revealed What benefits or what misfortunes to mankind may hereafter result from those great events, no human wisdom can foresee. By uniting, in some measure, the most distant parts of the world, by enabling them to relieve one another's wants, to increase one another's enjoyments, and to encourage one another's industry, their general tendency would seem to be beneficial.
To the natives however, both of the East and West Indies, all the commercial benefits which can have resulted from those events have been sunk and lost in the dreadful misfortunes which they have occasioned. At the particular time when these discoveries were made, the superiority of force happened to be so great on the side of the Europeans that they were enabled to commit with impunity every sort of injustice in those remote countries.
However, some might nevertheless have believed the prospects hopeful, - at least as far as the fortunes of the colonial traders themselves were concerned. But as Smith goes on we see a very different picture, enmities emerging as the traders of different nations, assuming exclusive 'trading rights', then competed with one another in ways that frequently ended in war, - wars that even for the winning side resulted in overall counter-productive losses for their nation.
During the greater part of the Sixteenth Century, the Portugueze endeavoured to manage the trade to the East Indies in the same manner, by claiming the sole right of sailing in the Indian seas, on account of the merit of having first found out the road to them. The Dutch still continue to exclude all other European nations from any direct trade to their spice islands. Monopolies of this kind are evidently established against all other European nations, who are thereby not only excluded from a trade to which it might be convenient for them to turn some part of their stock, but are obliged to buy the goods which that trade deals in somewhat dearer than if they could import them themselves directly from the countries which produce them.
Part Third Here, again, it is worth stressing that such skewed trade, sought and gained by 'Exclusive Companies of Merchants', works not only against the their international competitors, but necessarily against most of their fellow citizens, - citizens whose government legislated the monopoly law. For as Smith put it, "Since the establishment of the English East India company, for example, the other inhabitants of England, over and above being excluded from the trade, must have paid in the price of the East India goods which they have consumed, not only for all the extraordinary profits which the company may have made upon those goods in consequence of their monopoly, but for all the extraordinary waste which the fraud and abuse, inseparable from the management of the affairs of so great a company, must necessarily have occasioned.
The absurdity of this second kind of monopoly, therefore, is much more manifest than that of the first. Part Third Indeed, in ending this section on the East India Company, Smith concludes, "Such exclusive companies, therefore, are nuisances in every respect; always more or less inconvenient to the countries in which they are established, and destructive to those which have the misfortune to fall under their government.
Part Third Then again in his concluding remarks on the mercantile system, Smith includes his estimates of the highly counter-productive costs to the nation involved, - including the costs of war. A great empire has been established for the sole purpose of raising up a nation of customers who should be obliged to buy from the shops of our different producers all the goods with which these could supply them.
For the sake of that little enhancement of price which this monopoly might afford our producers, the home-consumers have been burdened with the whole expence of maintaining and defending that empire. For this purpose, and for this purpose only, in the two last wars, more than two hundred millions have been spent, and a new debt of more than a hundred and seventy millions has been contracted over and above all that had been expended for the same purpose in former wars. The interest of this debt alone is not only greater than the whole extraordinary profit which it ever could be pretended was made by the monopoly of the colony trade, but than the whole value of that trade, or than the whole value of the goods which at an average have been annually exported to the colonies.
In the mercantile regulations, which have been taken notice of in this chapter, the interest of our manufacturers has been most peculiarly attended to; and the interest, not so much of the consumers, as that of some other sets of producers, has been sacrificed to it. As Smith illustrated, we can see how in his time the British and other European economies were manipulated in favour of particular commercial 'elites'.
Always such favour was claimed to be 'in the national interest' although as clearly described by Smith, it in fact served merely the selfish interests of groups whose close connections to government provide them with the laws that enabled them to operate monopolies at home and abroad.
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We have seen, moreover, how by favouring some sectors of the economy above others, this process resulted not in the much vaunted 'free trade' but, - being anything but free, open and fair, - a trade that hurt all other traders, both at home and abroad. For example, as Smith writing of the doings of the East India Company in the late s put it, "By a perpetual monopoly, all the other subjects of the state are taxed very absurdly in two different ways: first, by the high price of goods, which, in the case of a free trade, they could buy much cheaper; and, secondly, by their total exclusion from a branch of business which it might be both convenient and profitable for many of them to carry on.
It is for the most worthless of all purposes, too, that they are taxed in this manner. It is merely to enable the company to support the negligence, profusion, and malversation of their own servants, whose disorderly conduct seldom allows the dividend of the company to exceed the ordinary rate of profit in trades which are altogether free, and very frequently makes it fall even a good deal short of that rate.
Without a monopoly, however, a joint stock company, it would appear from experience, cannot long carry on any branch of foreign trade. Smith periodically refers to such wars, particularly those Britain engaged in against its trading rivals of the 18th century. Accordingly, Smith deals primarily with the wars' heavy economic costs to the people of Britain, including the way in which, since such costs far-outweighed peace-time revenues their government repeatedly entered into high and ever-growing indebtedness to the advantage of the very people whose aggressive monopolistic practices had in the first place led the nation into war.
Here, focussing on the issue of profiting through their nation's war debts, I'll quote Smith's views on the heights of such indebtedness and how it was handled by government, beginning with his remark that, "War and the preparation for war are the two circumstances which in modern times occasion the greater part of the necessary expence of all great states.
In war an establishment of three of four times that expence becomes necessary The merchant or monied man makes money by lending money to government, and instead of diminishing, increases his trading capital. By advancing it they do not mean to diminish, but, on the contrary, to increase their mercantile capitals, They are unwilling for fear of offending the people, who, by so great and so sudden an increase of taxes, would soon be disgusted with the war; and they are unable from not well knowing what taxes would be sufficient to produce the revenue wanted.
The facility of borrowing delivers them from the embarrassment which this fear and inability would otherwise occasion. By means of borrowing they are enabled, with a very moderate increase of taxes, to raise, from year to year, money sufficient for carrying on the war, and by the practice of perpetually funding they are enabled, with the smallest possible increase of taxes, to raise annually the largest possible sum of money. In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies.
To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace.plecjaydrosta.tk
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They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war. Thus, "In Great Britain, from the time that we had first recourse to the ruinous expedient of perpetual funding, the reduction of the public debt in time of peace has never borne any proportion to its accumulation in time of war.
It was in the war which began in , and was concluded by the Treaty of Ryswick in , that the foundation of the present enormous debt of Great Britain was first laid. In the war which began in , and which was concluded by the Treaty of Utrecht, the public debts were still more accumulated.
On the 31st of December , they amounted to 53,,l. The most profound peace of seventeen years continuance had taken no more than 8,,l. A war of less than nine years continuance added 31,,l. On the 5th of January , at the conclusion of the peace, the funded debt amounted to ,,l.
In , therefore, the public debt of Great Britain, funded and unfunded together, amounted, according to this author, to ,,l. During a peace of about seven years continuance, the prudent and truly patriot administration of Mr. Pelham was not able to pay off an old debt of six millions.
During a war of nearly the same continuance, a new debt of more than seventy-five millions was contracted. We now go on to briefly outline what might have been learnt though sadly not from Smith's clear insights into the Christian civilised world of his day. After all, we know that Adam Smith's works were not only well received at the time but that, like the Bible, they were and have ever since been pored over and cited in support of one or other societal aim, - though commonly not in the way Smith would have approved!
Using as illustration Britain's rising industrial and financial power as the prime though by no means sole example, let us examine further developments in Europe's West from the time of Adam Smith. Firstly, as recently attested by Jeffrey Sachs in his Reith Lectures, it is quite clear that the 19th century's burgeoning industrial revolution, which so dramatically expanded national wealth, had the potential to serve the needs of all 'home' citizens in a reasonably equitable way.
JSa, L 5 And yet notwithstanding the good fortune of the emerging 'winners', the vast majority remained desperately poor, destined to serve each day long long hours in factories and mines, enduring miserable unhealthy lives in over-crowded city slums, - as described, for example, in Dickens' Great Expectations , CD and on The Victorian Web. VW see 'Social History', e.
Indeed, notwithstanding Britain's mounting industrial production, it was a social trend that extended well into the 20th century, - as Winston Churchill's impassioned Liberal Party speech, 'Spirit of the Budget' in 'Liberalism and the Social Problem' reveals. WC1, p. Clearly then, the exploitation of one's own people was a 'home-grown' prime means of enabling the nation's industrial revolution to create more and more private wealth for those at the top.
As well, unfortunately, instead of embarking on international trade that was cooperative and thus mutually advantageous, as advocated by Adam Smith, Europe's self-proclaimed Christian states continued with their colonial adventures and to engage their trade rivals in profligate, essentially counter-productive wars. In the case of Britain, especially so with France on the grounds that it's expanding economic and political power might allow it to dominate Europe.