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View Diary: Deconstruction of the Myths (56 comments)

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  •  The "invisible hand"? Read again! (none)
    Go read Adam Smith in the original ( instead of relying on the digests peddled by the free-market propagandists and you'll be surprised. Here are a few tidbits:
    The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorises, or at least does not prohibit, their combinations, while it prohibits those of workmen.
    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.
    Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.
    Such regulations may, no doubt, be considered as in some respect a violation of natural liberty. But those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments; of the most free, as well as of the most despotical.
    Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill were not only superior analytical intellects and excellent writers, but also had common sense and empathy, something that neoclassical economists and the Chicago School totally lack, for all their mathematical sleight-of-hand (and, if you're a mathematician like me, the economists' tricks look really clumsy and inelegant in any case, Samuelson be damned --- oh, what an ordeal it is to try to read _him_).

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