Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Adam Smith And Thomas Piketty Have A Lot In Common

Adam Smith is one of the most selectively read moral philosophers in the world.  Conservatives revere an Adam Smith that have worked hard not to understand.  This article provides quotes from Adam Smith that have much in common with Thomas Piketty.  Smith had contempt for rentiers who were able to afford lavish lifestyles without needing to work and produce output.  They were living off of inherited capital.  Moreover, large fortunes were frequently earned either from monopoly's granted by the sovereign,  or by collective action by firms to depress wages in order to increase profits.  Smith believed that Holland's economic success was related to the low level of profits in Holland.  The profits were low as result of competition and efficiency. 

It may be a stretch to compare Smith too closely to Piketty, but it is wrong to contrast Piketty with the imaginary Smith that conservatives have created.

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