The first time around I read Adam Smith’s great ”over-rated” work, the Wealth of a Nation, I was sixteen years old, and all that Victorian-lingua mostly passed over my head, and what got stuck was the popular ideo-marketing of his theory as that of a Liberal Democratic Economics, of Laissez-Faire, free market. So, as many I was left with this ‘wrong’ impression the guy was, in politics and economics, a liberal democrat (not the sorry state of the British Political Party, but that of a Political economic Ideology, of free trade, small government, big private market etc). Well….
Well, today, I just finished re-reading the Wealth of the Nation and his Moral Sentiments, trying to compare and contrast, sort of thinking, and what I found is simply incredible, the guy, rather being a liberal democrat economist, he was actually a strong socialist; the evidence is in the text!
Let me write for you a small text of his work, this is an example of the dominant thinking and argument that is all-over-the-text, the Rousseau-ean Influence can be clearly observed;
”Civil Government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality (here comes the punch-line) instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all”
Blimey, if that is not a ”commie-talk”, then I must be too young and dumb to know the difference between a socialist and a liberal democrat.
But that is not the end of it, throughout the text, he is on the corner of the poor ”soulless” industrial worker, reduced to a machine-state (Marxian-Talk), and how the ”bourgeoisie-Farmer is the most happy, secured and healthy”, and so forth. The list of the similarities between Social-Communism and Adam Smith’s Theory of Political Economy are just astounding and many.
So, in short, my conclusion after the second readings, and comparisons, I think, nay, I believe, Adam Smith was a Socialist, Hence, is works are full of ”SOCIAL WELFARE” arguments, even his ”state of nature”, Hobbesian evolution of social political society, is based on ‘moral social welfare’, of looking after each other, and always supporting those ”less fortune”, Could the Neo-Conservatives-Economists still argue he is one of them, I ask?