Friday, June 16, 2017


Vijay K. Marthur, Emeritus professor of economics, Cleveland State University, posts (15 June) on Huff Post HERE
Invisible Hands of Conservative Wealthy are Guiding Economic Policy”
Before Adam Smith wrote his most well-read book, The Wealth of Nations, he wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759. In the latter book he argued that man (referring to a person) has the ability to make moral judgments even though he is naturally guided by self-interest. In their economic history book, Professors Robert Ekelund, Jr. and Robert Herbert argue that according to Adam Smith, “…moral judgments are typically made by holding self-interest in abeyance and putting oneself in the position of a third person.”
Adam Smith was an ardent advocate of property rights, division of labor and invisible hand of competitive market forces. For him these institutional arrangements, guided by self-interest, would create self-regulating forces to bring about robust economic growth and improved wellbeing of the society. Smith’s invisible hand proposition did not support the doctrine of merchant capitalists from 16th to 18th century Europe, called Mecantilists who, in alliance with the monarchy, were primarily interested in the accumulation of their wealth. Smith also promoted free trade and saw it as a vehicle for expanding markets. Ekelund and Herbert state that Smith was concerned about accumulation of wealth and its influence in a civil society. …“Adam Smith’s invisible hand proposition works in a competitive market, therefore he abhorred monopoly power.”
Professor Vijay K. Marthur uses modern scholars’ statements to amend Adam Smith’s use of a metaphor of ‘an invisible hand’ to mean something quite different from what Smith intended. Be clear, this habit is often used in modern scholarship and arrives at ideas quite different from Adam Smith’s.
There is no mention of “competitive forces” in relation to Smith’s metaphoric use of ‘an invisible hand’. Vijay Marthur’s assertion of “Adam Smith’s invisible hand proposition” had nothing to do with, and did not mention, “a competitive market” nor “monopoly power”.

Wharever happened to the legendary “fact checkers” that used to be employed in newspapers, let alone by university professors grading student essays orreading articles by colleagues?


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