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Adam Smith Contra Modern Capitalism

So I've been reading Wealth of Nations, and was tickled to find Adam Smith understood and warned against the dangers of corporate capitalism. Corporations, he understood, colluded with each other and with governments to the hurt of ordinary citizens. Get a load of these excerpts:

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. The pretence that corporations are necessary for the better government of the trade, is without any foundation.

In every country it always is the interest of the great body of the people, to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest. The proposition is so manifest, that it seems ridiculous to take any pains to prove it; nor could it ever have been called in question, had not the interested sophistry of merchants and manufacturers confounded the common sense of mankind.

To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight, appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers, but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.


Yes, and if I recall correctly, he even talks some about the dangers of monopolies (probably in the same chapter that your first excerpt came from).

I've emailed you about economics.

September 26, 2009 at 9:45 PM  

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