Monday, 22 June 2009

Adam Smith: a Primer by Eamonn Butler

Living only about 20 miles from the birthplace of Adam Smith, I decided it was time I learned more about him. I wasn't brave enough to tackle the 600-odd pages of The Wealth of Nations but I did find this clearly-written little volume. Here is a very topical quote from the philosopher and father of modern economics:

"It is the highest impertinence and presumption ... in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense ... They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will".
The Wealth of Nations, Book II, ch. III, p.346, para 36.

So it looks like floating duck houses and moat cleaning are nothing new!

Here is a link to more information on Adam Smith.

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