Understanding the Real Capitalism Sep 10, 2009
While the current laissez-faire capitalists hold up Adam Smith as their model, the real Adam Smith was first and foremost a teacher of moral philosophy in his native Scotland. Read his ideas on natural and desirable human virtues such as sympathy. Contrast that with the real author of our current form of capitalism, Ayn Rand, who declared compassion a vice. Compare Smith's ideas on moral duties with Rand's derision of "do-gooders," as her followers call those who use their education to help others. Compare Smith's altruistic concern for the human condition and how to better the economic condition of all free people by concentrating on lifting ourselves out of miserable economic conditions and fostering the cooperation and peace needed for capitalism instead of devoting our lives to the constant European religious wars with which Smith was so familiar.
This book will give you the necessary insight into the vision of the future author of the Wealth of Nations and the world he hoped to foster. Contrast that with the highly SOLE and separate self-interest of Ayn Rand and you will begin to see how dangerous philosophies can be when their ideas are usurped by those who do not understand the philosophy or change it into something Smith would not recognize and I believe would find abhorrent, based on the ideas he presented in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Rand was scarred by almost dying in her flight from totalitarian communism and naturally reacted to government as "the enemy."
It is ironic that those who hold government to be their natural enemy think they are following Adam Smith, who was a government bureaucrat and believed government naturally provided some necessary services for the people that smaller fragmented entities could not provide or provide as efficiently! A must read for those interested but perhaps bewildered by their own economic condition and the conflicting moral messages sent by Smith vs. Rand.