Wednesday, May 1, 2013


One of the greatest misunderstandings about Adam Smith, the intellectual godfather of modern capitalism, is what he said about keeping the state out of the market. Most advocates of free market, or laissez-faire, economics like to claim that Adam Smith (1723-1790) wanted to keep the government out of the market because only market players know what they're doing, so leave them alone.


Adam Smith was clear. He argued that the state needed to stay out of the market because historically "the government usually intervened on behalf of monopoly and privilege." He understood that the rich and powerful don't need any help from the government. Smith also realized that scratching out favors and placing the interests of our commercial aristocracy above others in society would skew the "laws of justice" (what we might call "equality under the law") that was supposed to be the backbone behind the economic system he described.

I bring all of this up because of this NY Times editorial, "Congress Rushes to Aid the Powerful."

How favoring the interests of the 
rich impacts their value system.

While not explicitly referencing Adam Smith, the special exemption granted to travelers undermines Smith's laws of justice, on so many levels.

- Mark 

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