Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Adam Smith was never an ideologue. Justice in society is essential

[The chapter in Wealth Of Nations to which Dani Rodrick refers demonstrates the authentic Adam Smith who was never an ideologue of any kind. What worked was more important than what fitted a ‘theory’ of what ought to work. The problem of bank paper (currency notes) was compounded by the behaviours of individuals – not all expressions of self-interest lead to socially beneficial outcomes, as students of Adam Smith know, but Nobel Prize winners in economics sometimes don’t, let alone legions of ‘top’ academics who pontificate on ‘his’ alleged theories with all the arrogant certainties of what Smith called ‘men of system’. Dani Rodrik exposes the silliness of the so-called libertarian: ‘If my purchase harms me, I have nobody to blame but myself. I cannot plead for a government bailout’. They ignore the fact that a banking crisis does not just harm the individual; it harms many others who were not party to the individual’s transaction. Justice in society, said Adam Smith (and similarly, said David Hume) is essential, otherwise it would ‘crumble into atoms’, and justice is not just about apportioning ‘blame’ to individuals who contribute to the problem, it is also about protecting other individuals who are affected by such actions.
Dani Rodrik Wins April's Lost Legacy Prize
via Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy on 4/22/08]

[Cities still do not matter in their 'politics'. This is how the word 'politics' has lost its meaning. It meant something else in ancient Greece. In means something else in the western world. It means something completely different in contemporary India. And I think it was Confucius who said: "When words lose their meaning, the people will lose their freedom." See my "The Purpose of Politics".
Politics - from Pericles to Rahul Gandhi
via ANTIDOTE by Sauvik on 4/21/08]

If “Justice" is really so crucial to both politics and economics, then a whole new political culture must take root. Savitri Era Party is awake to the urgency and would like to stick its neck out. [TNM]

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