Adam Smith, one the great heroes of the stateless capitalist movement. To them he is the Grandfather of the idea that markets magically create equality like some kind of prayer to Jesus. Often he is quoted as having created the vision of a world of perfect capitalist competition. Where free and voluntary exchange creates a perfect world and market forces have ended racism, sexism, poverty and inequality. Unfortunately in real life, perfect doesn’t exist, just like all their claims about markets and just like what they say about what Adam Smith wrote. Karl Marx is the most deliberately misconstrued economist by his enemies; Adam Smith is the most deliberately misconstrued economist by his own supporters.
Who was Adam Smith, what economic policy did he follow? Well, Adam Smith was what is called a classical liberal. From reading him, I’ve seen that his fundamental principals were that people should be free. There should be no authoritarian institutions; and he believed there should be no division of labour, which he believed (correctly), destroys people.
Now Smith is looked at as the big man behind the justification for markets. No matter what inequality they create or how many millions of people die a year from hunger. But why was Adam Smith was in favour of markets? He was in favour of markets because he thought people should be completely equal, I’m talking COMPLETELY EQUAL. This was because he was a classical liberal, a person who believed that people had aspects like sympathy, and solidarity, the right to control their own work and more stuff like that. All of this is the complete opposite of capitalism. The division of labour is what makes capitalism what it is.
The ideas of classical liberalism and capitalism couldn’t be any more different. That is why the University of Chicago had to lie about what Adam Smith actually wrote. The University of Chicago printed the bicentennial edition of The Wealth of Nations, a scholarly edition. It is really interesting how the introduction to the book (by George Stigler) was written in the complete opposite to what he wrote about the division of labour. The introduction like stateless capitalists claim that Adam Smith thought the division of labour was an awesome thing. That is not what he said at all. He said that in a civilized society the government would have to interfere in order to keep the division of labour from destroying people. After that go look at the University of Chicago’s index under “division of labour”: you won’t find an entry for that passage – it’s simply not there.
That is how easy it is to lie to the public, and how easy it is get a stateless capitalist to believe in their ideology. That is the real work of the ruling class. Just lie about what was said and suppress anything that would expose you or prove you wrong. The people, who quote Adam Smith, don’t read the book The Wealth of Nations. What they do is read the overview or the introduction and then just assume they know. The Mises “Institute” is no different, they do the exact same thing, just absolutely lie about what Adam Smith wrote. Write up a bunch of introductions like George Stigler and call it an “analysis”.
This is the failing of stateless capitalists, they don’t read anything, they read about things. They don’t do any analysis; they just read what the Mises blog says and take that as fact. They don’t analyze events; they let the Mises “Institute” tell them what their opinion is. Its very obvious that this isn’t just them, bourgeois economists (real life ones) are almost as bad. So of course they have to distort Adam Smith’s text; because as a true classical liberal, Smith was strongly opposed to all of the idiocy they now spout in his name.
I go back to what I said about stateless capitalism being like a religion, like Christianity or Islam or Judaism. You have a long book that can be complicated for some people to read. So the get a holy man or a so-called intellectual to interpret the text for them. This way they never actually read the text and try to interpret it themselves.
Read the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith was not the free market man they claim he was. In fact, in many ways, he was anti-capitalist.