Adam Smith has been misunderstood

An abolitionist, he tried to prove with his economic theories that slavery was unnecessary

Editor, The Times:

There was a time I couldn’t abide the name of Adam Smith.

After all, wasn’t Adam Smith responsible for the free market nonsense emanating from the likes of the late Milton Freedman and that far right gang at the Fraser Institute?

That free market capitalist nonsense proved a bust in the year 2008. That was when a good part of the globe’s economy had to be rescued by massive government intervention.

There was no free market tooth fairy to straighten things out.

Well, it turns out that I, as well as the Fraser Institute, have completely misunderstood Adam Smith’s economic ideas.

Adam Smith was a very honourable man. An abolitionist, he tried to prove with his economic theories that slavery was unnecessary. It was better to pay wages to free working men. Everyone would be better off.

Smith also goes on about how merchants conspire to create monopolies and raise prices.

He also states that workers should have decent wages and working conditions. Does any of this sound like the Reaganomics Thatcherism nonsense that we’ve been fed for the last 30 years or so?

All in all Adam Smith’s economic theories make sense. (However, after 2008 Karl Marx’s Das Capital is quite relevant too!)

I have to confess that I’ve read only parts of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. One has to be in the right frame of mind to absorb the whole of the blueprint for a new economic order.

I suspect that this is more than those at the Fraser Institute ever done, although it is said that they have a life-size figure of Adam Smith in their hallway — plaster no less!

As my late waggish friend put it in the days when Michael Walker was a force at the Fraser Institute, “If Adam Smith could see how Michael Walker has perverted his economic ideas, Smith would bust his hickory walking stick over Michael Walker’s bald head.”

Dennis Peacock


Clearwater, B.C.