Adam Smith (1723-1790)
He is considered as the founder of political economy, and he was the posthumous child of a Scottish Comptroller of Customs. Born in Fife, he went to Glasgow university where he came under the influence of Scottish Enlightenment and Dr. Francis Hutchenson, and later went to Balliol college,Oxford where he remained till 1746.
At Oxford he incurred the displeasure of the university authorities because of his interest in the philosophical works of David Hume. Some twelve years older than Adam Smith David Hume was a fellow Scot and a son of the “Scottish Enlightenment” becoming the author of his “A Treatise of Human Nature”, which was held by influential opinion at Oxford University to be guilty of promoting an “atheistic” philosophy.
In 1752 he took the professorship of Moral Philososphy at Glasgow. In 1759 he published his Theory of Moral Sentiments which brought him a modicum of success and opened a chance to accompany in the capacity of tutor to the young Duke of Buccleuch.
By 1764 he resigned the chair at Glasgow. It was in Paris that he felt his calling sure. He came across te Physiocrats* a group of economists who encouraged him to follow the train of ideas he was for some time tentatively occupied with and on return to Kirkaldy he set about putting them into shape. In a space of 10 years he brought his magnum opus An inquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Till his death he was holding on the post of Commissioner of Customs at Edinburgh.
* Background notes
Personal side of the man.
He seems to have suffered from troubles with his nerves and, as a result of this Adam Smith relinquished his scholarship in 1746 returning homewards to base himself in Edinburgh.
Smith was a reserved and absent minded individual much inclined to enjoy the books in his own library and continuing to live in the same house as his ageing mother. Though often awkward in social situations he acquired a great reputation as an interesting and animated lecturer. In this he was perhaps aided by following Francis Hutcheson in giving his own lectures in English rather than the previously more expected scholarly medium of Latin. In his spare time Adam Smith had opportunities to meet with many influential persons in intellectual and business circles in a city still under the influence of the “Scottish Enlightenment” and which even had its own Political Economy Club.
In 1759 a major work by Adam Smith entitled Theory of Moral Sentiments attracted much attention even beyond British shores winning him an an intellectual reputation in such foreign countries as France and Germany.
Whilst acting as tutor from 1763 Smith found some of the time spent in the French provinces hard to fill and seems to have begun his masterpiece An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, as a way of taking up otherwise idle hours in the summer of 1764. Overall however he derived much personal philosophical benefit from these months of journeying on the continent. In Paris he met amongst others, the “Physiocrat” economic theorist (and court Physician) Quesnay and the French Ministers, Turgot and Necker.
French economic policy in these times was conducted in accordance with the “Mercantilism” that had held sway in the economic thinking of Europe for some three centuries. Mercantilism expected that governmental control would be exercised over industry and trade in accordance with the theory that national strength (i.e. the Royal states treasury) is increased by a preponderance of exports over imports.
By nature, then, as now, France was fitted to be a great agricultural country, a great producer and exporter of corn and wine; but her legislators for several generations had endeavoured to counteract the apparently natural bias of French economic life towards agriculture, and had tried to make her an exporter of manufactured goods. Like most legislators in those times, they had been prodigiously impressed by the ambitious position which the maritime powers, as they were then called (the comparatively little powers of England and Holland), were able to take in the politics of Europe. They saw that this influence came from wealth, that this wealth was made in trade and manufacture, and therefore they determined that France should not be behind, but should have as much trade and manufacture as possible. Accordingly, they imposed prohibitive or deterring duties on the importation of foreign manufacturers; they gave bounties to the corresponding home manufactures.
Smith found that the French Physiocrats delighted in attempting to prove that the whole Mercantilist structure of the French laws upon industry was utterly wrong; that the prohibitions ought not to be imposed on the import of foreign manufacturers; that bounties ought not to be given to native ones; that the exportation of corn ought to be free; that the whole country ought to be a fiscal unit; that there should be no duty between any province; and so on in other cases. Smith found much that he admired in the Physiocrats outlook but he did not share it completely. Amongst other things the Physiocrats saw land as the primary source of wealth (one seed sown might produce twenty at harvest!) rather than manufacturing.( http://www.age-of-the-sage.org)
Archive for March 3rd, 2012
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Runaway success of rich to be super-rich means poor shall be made super-poor.
The top 1% owns 40% of Nation’s wealth and the American dream gives 99% harsh reality of maintaining it.
This shows somewhere American passion for equality and fair pay has suffered serious damage. It would seriously curtail America’s role as champion of liberty and capitalism in the coming decades.
1. A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
2. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished.
3. If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.
4. The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.
5. One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.
6. There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.
7. Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8 percent once you account for inflation.
8. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.
9. A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.
10. According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
11. Back in 1980, less than 30 percent of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40 percent of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
12. Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.
13. One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.
14. The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.
15. According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.
16. As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
17. The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.
18. In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.
19. Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.
20. If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.
21. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant. That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.
22. New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.
23. 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.
24. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
25. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5 percent of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3 percent.
26. One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
27. If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
28. The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
29. It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.
30. The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
31. Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.
32. According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America’s biggest companies rose by 36.5 percent in just one recent 12 month period.
33. Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.
34. The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
35. According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.
36. If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.
37. A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7 percent) than has ever been measured before.
38. Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.
39. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.
40. Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.
41. Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
42. In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7 percent of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.
43. A staggering 48.5 percent of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.
44. Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
45. For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.
46. If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.
47. Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.
48. If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.
49. The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.
50. During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.
Of course, after going through all these numbers, the obvious question is, “how has it come to this?” The Economic Collapse has a simple answer:
. . . the heart of our economic problems is the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine, it has almost completely destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and it has an absolutely nightmarish track record of incompetence. If the Federal Reserve system had never been created, the U.S. economy would be in far better shape. The federal government needs to shut down the Federal Reserve and start issuing currency that is not debt-based.
But who among America’s leaders has the will and determination to do this? Judging by how the Obama administration has conducted itself thus far, it probably won’t consider (let alone implement) any of the suggestions mentioned in the above. Therefore, that leaves only the GOP candidates.
Who among them has the best chance to restore economic stability? Who is the most likely to return the U.S. to prosperity?
“Hopefully next year more Americans than ever will wake up, because 2012 is going to represent a huge turning point for this country,” TEC writes.
Indeed, 2012 may be one of the biggest turning points this country has ever seen.(ack:http://news.yahoo.com/50-facts-u-economy-shock)