Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Guess who said this?

Hint: he's a famous economist. Answer below the cut.

"The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order [merchants, manufacturers, and other capitalists] ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the must scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention.

"It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

Adam Smith, the closing words to Book 1, Chapter XI, of The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776.

He is remarkably anti-business, and many people who invoke Smith's name do not seem to have read him.

"The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respect different, and even opposite to, that of the public," he wrote in Chapter XI, and a little earlier in that chapter, he also said that the rate of profit "is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin."

He was not popular among business people in his own time, and for good reason. He shouldn't be popular among them today.

Tags: humor

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