“Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.” -- John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)

The Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes

The Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes - Mark Skousen It appears to be that Skousen did not take his time to carefully examine Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, because a lot of his assertions about Adam Smith's free trade theory seem to be nothing more than a synopsis of common myths -- and those common myths are often distorted interpretations of Adam Smith's real thought on free trade.

Adam Smith's practical objective in developing the argument for free trade differed from that of the classical and neoclassical economists after him. So did his "meaning" of free trade.

The Wealth of Nations was a reformist response to a pressing issue of international economic policy in the historical context. Adam Smith wrote this book to use facts to attack the misguided mercantilist doctrines (the economic equivalent of political absolutism and dominant in Europe in the 16th-18th centuries) which, at the time, boded to reduce the sum of economic exchange between England and France to smuggling. The very same mercantilist doctrines supported a corrupt and exploitative British colonial policy -- the flaws of which were self-evident to those who started the American Revolution in the same year that Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations was published. The book is Adam Smith's theoretical instrument to destroy the prevalent mercantilist doctrine and policy.

It seems to me that, for Adam Smith, international trade -- while certainly better "free" than in the hands of government-sponsored monopolies -- was something of a last resort for increasing the wealth of nations. Absent the artificial stimulus to foreign trade under mercantilism, the nation would be led to exploit the more productive domestic uses of capital, before investing large sums of capital in those less productive.

The author clearly portrays Karl Marx like a devil while worshiping Adam Smith like a saint.

His one-sided view reads more like a propaganda (to serve whatever cause) than an objective academic analysis on how these three great thinkers influenced the realm of economic thoughts and how their ideas are still relevant or irrelevant today.

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