The Real Adam Smith: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg, takes an intriguing, two-part look at Smith and the evolution and relevance of his ideas today, both economic and ethical. It’s difficult to imagine that a man who lived with horse drawn carriages and sailing ships would foresee our massive 21st century global market exchange, much less the relationship between markets and morality. But Adam Smith was no ordinary 18th century figure. Considered the “father of modern economics,” Smith was first and foremost a moral philosopher. The revolutionary ideas he penned in The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments, changed the world. Norberg explores Smith’s insights regarding free trade and the nature of wealth to the present, where they are thriving and driving the world’s economy.
In the second hour, Ideas That Changed The World, Norberg traces Smith’s insights regarding the benefits of free trade and the nature of wealth to the present, where they are currently in operation. He talks with some of the most distinguished Adam Smith scholars, as well as leaders of some of the world’s most admired companies to discover how Smith’s ideas continue to be relevant and drive the global economy today.
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When the information is put out in front of you, it becomes so mind boggling how far we’ve come in such a short time. That magnificent machine of a cargo boat is so fascinating in how calculated and perfect every piece of it fits together, I sit in my room and gawk at how cool everything around me is when you really think about all the details put into its design.
Land is wealth, everything else is a promise that as Smith iterates is at the mercy of free and fair law. Hence the Wealth of Nations is too utopian a concept to succeed - due to the baseness of the human condition. Today's global market is at the mercy of the same corruptions; of monopolies posing as ruling classes with rhetoric posing as ideals, just like it has done throughout the history of all human societies. Elites bemusing the people with false philosophies masquerading as political ideologies. China is not a free market, and its historical ideals are based upon a mono-ethnic premise of society; nor can the US/European market be, for they were forged by early modern elites in mercantilism, who wrote the system to be inaccessible for the masses. The worst spanner in the works is nationalism, a concept best understood via the study of global survey. Adam Smith's concepts are wonderful dreams, like those of Marx, Spielberg and Robin Hood, but the world will always be run by nepotists, I prefer to call them gangsters. Someone always suffers for the freedoms we afford. Christ gave us the best starting point in ethical economics when he told us to leave our families and accept the world as brothers and sisters, again a very unlikely concept. Yet without this central message of Christ every idea of the early modern western emancipation is flawed. So, without arguing for the existence of a supreme being, I do believe that Classical Antiquity holds the very flaws built into our modern system, and like the Roman Republicans of antiquity the worst has yet to come, yet their opponents - the disenfranchised of that society - may fair better under the future authoritarian patronage that is sure to come. Democracy was facilitated by slavery or servility, it facilitated oligarchies or descended into coup d'etats. Why did Cain slay Abel? For the same reasons the landed aristocracy entered upon monastical disputes post antiquity and in early modern history enclosed their farms. The division of labour is confinement wielded by the necessity for food and shelter.
Global economics is great but globalism, not so much. Global entities are becoming more powerful then countries, with no true identity or loyalty, they manipulate the world for agency and profit. Culture, community and country are being eroded by a one world order veiled by multiculturalism, diversity and open borders. Imperialism by a different name.
An entire hour documentary that lacked any criticism of the absolute failings of capitalism. No wonder people are so delusional about the virtues of this utterly broken system, and utter misunderstanding of socialism. Swallowed whole, you are going to choke.
Leaving it purely to market forces would solve the inequality if we were all equal. But the fact is, we are not all equal. We have our own interests, talents, needs, life choices, etc. Some are extraordinarily intelligent, some are lazy. My brother is more active and smart than me. He will surely earn more than me in future if I don't up my own game. And it's fair that he would earn more than me in case I'm unable to improve myself. It will be unfair if he and me end up with same.
As great and influential the thinking of Adam Smith was his moral foundation was based on the notion of “The Common Good” rather than Individualism. This left the door open for attack by the Left which persists to this day.
All this progress and wealth because of one man and one book. We live our lives through the GDP per capita and free markets. Massive wealth and over population is the result. This is same as if we celebrated Hitler's Mein Kampf which failed in reality but was close to succeed. We could have become one German nation and one market.
Places that the commentator did not mention that tried the same economic experiment with Chicago-style capitalism
Chile - led to economic disaster
Haiti - Capitalism under Rene Preval, the economy did even worse under Chicago style Neoliberalism
Philippines - under Marcos the "market economy" led to a growing income gap and ultimately revolution
The Democratic Republic of Congo in 1990a - IMF and World Bank tried the "free market model" and led to contraction, disparity, and starvation
Mexico - tried the free market model and it failed
There are so many more examples under the IMF imposed 'free market' austerity that led to disaster like S American & Central American economies, countries. It is easy to cherry-pick an authoritarian example like China and the Soviet Union and then leave out Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore (higher % of govt in the economy than Venezuela), Canada etc etc.....
Not many people have actually read Adam Smith. Not all those on the right who have been told to worship him. They may have heard of the first page of "Wealth of Nations" but not much else. Look at what Noam Chomsky or Michael Hudson say about him. They HAVE read him.
Marx glass half empty, smith glass half full. But capitalism is based on human history, just innovated from the past. Market is the key to liberalization of the economy. It gives people choice of goods. The key to market is choices.
Sorry, but we need some sort of state. According to John Locke, the only purpose of the state is to guarantee the civil liberties of the people living inside of said state, and to make that no ones liberties are being violated, like the right to life liberty and property.
I get paid on time, use the money to buy what I need - food I don't have to grow, a roof I didn't have to build, on walls that I didn't have to fashion out of mud brick. Much better than Hunter-Gatherer economies, which is what Venezuela has now, until Caracas runs out of pigeons.
There was another ship of Commodore Perry not mentioned, which forced trade upon Japan, which rulers were wised enough to know that Adam Smith free trade was bad for the type of culture Japan lived under, and perhaps the Japanese rulers might had known at that time that Smith type trading would had been even awful for the planet Earth. The wealth of nations may be very bad for the wealth of the planet Earth. If the wealth of nations increases to the extend of destroying the wealth of Earth, the destruction of the Earth will lead to the total destruction of the wealth of nations.
After Perry forced Japan to open up to global trade, Japan was seduced to the industrial wealth of Western nations. Japan started to industrialized itself on a vast scale in order to equal the industrial achievements of the West, but Japan's home islands lacked abundant natural resources to support its industrialization efforts. Japan started to move into its neighboring countries to look for natural resources to support its westernization efforts. First, Japan moved into it close neighbor Korea, and then it continued to move into northern China. Japan continued to expand to the southern Pacific area for oil, and rubber in Indochina. The United States threatened not to sell oil to Japan, when the US did not accept the competition of Japan in taking over the rubber of Indochina. Japan hatched an insane plan to destroy the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, so that Japan could be freed to invade the southern Pacific countries for their natural resources to support Japan's industries. The attacked on US Pearl Harbor caused to US to join World War 2. The US, using its industrial might, successfully developed nuclear weapons that forced Japan to surrender, and which started the nuclear age. The proliferation of huge numbers of nuclear weapons during the Cold War for the first time threatened the total destruction of the planet Earth via "nuclear winters" and radiation. The peaceful use of large numbers of nuclear reactors also generated at lot of radioactive wastes, and threatened the accidental release of nuclear radiation for nuclear electric power plants.
After WW2, the US reigned supreme in global economic expansion when most industrial countries in Europe, and Japan in the far east were devastated by WW2. The US stated to build on a vast scale limited-access-super-highways based on the German Autobaun, which US general, and president Ike saw in Germany during WW2. This resulted in US workers living in cities to migrate out to the suburbs, needing long automotive car driving to the cities to work, and back out to the suburbs after work. As the wealth of the US nation grew due to Adam Smith's free market principles, even the poor workers became rich enough to buy houses in the suburbs, so that the poor city workers too migrated in mass to the suburbs. As the suburbs close to the cities were more expansive, and the houses in the suburbs closer to the cities were already bought up the wealthier, the newly rich poor city workers had to migrate even further away from the cities to find affordable houses to buy. This resulted in even longer car commuting daily to work and back on super-highways by huge numbers of these suburbia workers. This high-energy lifestyle resulted in the rapid depletion of easy-to-extract domestic US oil reserves, so that the US had to import oil. The importing of oil, and the trading of oil, once again like with Japan, fostered oil-wars.
But an even worse problem than oil-wars was the spread of the high-energy American lifestyle globally to other nations, promoted by Smith's free global trading. If every nation, or even just a lot of nations adopted the high-energy lifestyle of the US, there is not enough oil on Earth to support such wasteful high-energy US lifestyle globally. Another problem which is emerging is that high-energy use creates high amounts of byproducts of burning fossil fuels, which can cause excessive global warming, which if high enough may destroy Earth as we know it. The wealth of the planet Earth is once again threatened by a new problem: first nuclear winter, and now global warming. What's next Adam Smith?
Obviously those countries could have made a trade deal over the natural resources that Japan had major demand for, that is more Smithian.
Japan was focused on autarky and was nationalistic at the time. And an important part of such ideologies is NOT trading with other countries. How can one trade with another when one is focused on creating all goods?
As for global warming the obvious solution is to invest (I assume you are capable of such?) in renewable sources. The New Green Deal is an example of government intervention is this case as it seeks to remove fossil fuels as an energy source entirely within 10 years, instead of seeking to make renewable energy more favourable to investment and R&D, which would the more Smithian solution.
Also the post WW2 boom was Keynesian economics not Smithian economics or, to not personalise it, demand-side economics and supply-side economics.
But underscores just how badly conservatives who pound the podium about "Free markets" and actually cite Smith ....clearly never read a line of his work.
He would have NEVER agreed to unregulated markets.
He would have NEVER agreed that "shareholder value" is the only thing that matters to a business.
He would have NEVER agreed that monopolies should be tolerated.
He would have NEVER agreed to the legality of a Lobbying industry between governments and corporations.
Yet these are all rabid contentions of "free market" dogs. Smith realized inately that corporations are AMORAL and the necessity of moral guidance for economic actions of business was critical to preventing ...well...preventing exactly what we've emerged today variably in capitalistic economies all over the world.
The video claims Adam Smith's book encouraged Jefferson and his cohorts to rebel against the English government, and thereby doomed Great Britain to eventually become a none-first-tier economy. With citizens like Smith, Great Britain doesn't need enemies.
What had native son Adam Smith done for Great Britain? Why Great Britain fell from a first-tier economy to a second-tier economy, which may be in danger of falling into a third-tier economy? Would the British people thank Smith for their fall of their wealth of the British nation?
If you want to know Adam Smith, go somewhere else; if you don't know Adam Smith, go somewhere else; if you want to know China and free market, go somewhere else. The only valuable thing I learned is Sir Cowperthwaite who made Hong Kong a great economic power. Unfortunately HK is not as good as before 1997.
Adam Smith published his work in 1776, 243 years ago, it is implemented by all developed nations, yet not one country ended homelessness for all. Not one country ended hunger for all. Not one country ended healthcare for all. Adam Smith is not to be praised but to be critical. Problems humans had like hunger, homelessness, and illness have existed since the birth of man and even today. There is nothing revolutionary nor great about Adam Smith. Another video putting him on a pedestal. We can do better and must.
It is quite telling that, at least according to this documentary, more students in China read Adam Smith than one does in America. The U.S. needs a wake-up call and this starts with a reformation of the education system. This is especially true for the universities, where Smith's works are now demonized while Marx has been sanctified. We need to realize again that only true fee markets (egalitarian capitalism) can create wealth, whereas central control communism, national socialism, crony (criminal) capitalism, and government backed monopolies mismanage, misallocate, and eventually destroy a nation's wealth. Going along with Smith's works on ethics, we also need to reassess our moral behavior to once again realign social prosperity with self-interest (if we cooperate to benefit individually, we benefit together), rather than the self-aggrandizing but ultimately inept SJW morality of today.
anonamous365 That’s how it worked out. Originally it was betting on what would happen if the workers owned the means of production.
Unfortunately, the answer was: not much, without having guns pointed at them.
Since the government usually has the army, the government is the one with the most guns. So Marxism came to mean the government owns the means of production.
I beg the differ...socialism was never meant to be authoritarian or anti individualistic or anti market.
In fact, early forms of socialism including American Individualist Anarchism builded upon the works of Smith and Ricardo among others in order to create something uniquely satisfying.
Adam Smith had a very narrow view of the world when he wrote his ideas. He failed to recognize that the wrath that he saw growing in England and Scotland was largely the product of deliberate colonial policies of the his government that assisted in plundering all the colonies back then. The weath and development that his nation enjoys now is very much a product of that government sponsored policy. Moreovr, what is interesting is the fact that the English might have applied this laisse fairer policies domestically but not once did they think of applying it in other nations. To the English mind, civilly was a virtue to be selectively applied. And he might have been the “father” of economics in the West but this statement seems to be undermine the contribution to economics by intellectuals from non western cultures, which can sadly distort history. For instance, in 321 B.C Kautilya wrote a book on economics called Arthasastra, which is Sanskrit for Economics read by Alexzander and his general like Selecus.
Nonetheless, applied fairly And uniformly across all nations today, Smith’s idea could help address the issue of crony capitalism and help free the market from distorting forces for both sellers and buyers.
That's great. The girl comes to University of Chicago to learn "from the best of the best" American Marxist/socialist professors. She'll go home re-Socialized. Hilarious! She should have gone to Hong Kong.
most if not all national economic systems are hybrids with elements of capitalism and socialism. the truth is, human consumer GLUTTONY coupled with mass psychological illness and religious backwardness is the problem with all system "types." People are always the problem with the system. Poor systems come from the diseased minds and bodies of people. Healthy systems come from healthy people. Healthy (decentralized) socialism is manifested by healthy people. Healthy (decentralized, small business/farms) free markets are manifested by healthy people. Unhealthy versions of both come from diseased people. A bunch of healthy vegetarians who prefer hiking to shopping and gardening to climbing corporate ladders (or socialist gov "officialdom") will make either system succeed. problem is, we're still a bunch of hedonistic chimps.
The presenter is from Sweden, perhaps he could take Adam Smith’s advice, size is everything, global free markets, so tell Sweden to get out of Europe and help shut that EU socialist hegemony, these inflated immoral bureaucrats who produce no value need shutting down.
Today good ideas are centered on National Socialism. National means a big No to Free trade and Globalization. Socialism today is the socialisation of Taxes, corporate losses and debts for the transfer of Wealth from the poor masses to the Rich plutocrats and the corporations they control.
Excellent documentary, must watch. Don't feed the wild animals. (Feeding the wild animals destroy their propensity for hard work, resilience power and survival instinct, make them lazy, idle and indolent.)
All consumer products can, and should, be produced locally. Shipping goods on this volume back and forth across the globe is sheer insanity. The reason we have this gigantic shipping insanity, is because of the drastic inequality in labor costs as they differ from country to country, and one global region to the next. Inequality drives profits, and therefore global shipping.
I dont claim to understand all this yet as im still in the process of learning finance but as a scientists i don't think what you are saying is possible at the large scale. Sure we can grow some food and basic things throughout the world locally but what about the uneven distribution of natural resources or the differences in the climate of these various location... some things won't just grow where the weather doesn't support that kind of agriculture so i have to disagree with you.
Hong Kong as the freest economy in the world: Tax burden is super low in Hong Kong, but it has the highest housing price in the world. People are free from taxes, but they are trapped by housing price. I do love some of Adam Smith's ideas but this real-time example is not what I prefer.
Capitalism works but this corporatism we have now only benefits the top 1% and their puppets who feed off the public sector gravy trains, This via lobbying and corruption kills free trade and thus innovation and competition.
In a time of increasing change and uncertainty, we must be clear on what will not change to not get distracted.
Strategic Portfolio Management.
1. Periodic evaluation and prioritization of the entire innovation portfolio.
2. Strategic and priority-based resource allocation.
On a strategic level, portfolio and resource management must be fully aligned.
3. Release and exit of innovation initiatives.
About the authors.
Dr. Ralph-Christian Ohr has been working in several innovation, division and product management functions for international, technology-based companies. His interest is aimed at organizational and personal capabilities for high innovation performance. He authors the Integrative Innovation Blog.
The Biggest Mistakes in Managing a Portfolio.
The Biggest Mistakes in Financial Planning Series.
by Harvey Jacobson, CHFC, MBA, CLU.
Investors who have remained consistent with their risk profiles through volatile markets have seen a substantial recovery in their portfolios since March 2009. Those who are truly behind are those who panicked and are now left with the decision of how to recover their losses. They can, but it is a much slower recovery.
This article published originally April 13, 2010, Los Angeles Daily News.
Managing an agile portfolio.
When the right people on the right teams have the right context, they naturally do the right thing.
Set the right context.