Even Adam Smith advocated for protectionist policies – the “invisible hand” in industry

by Ben Hoffman

Here is the quote from The Wealth of Nations that illustrates Adam Smith’s view on domestic vs. foreign industries:

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.

So when businessmen look out for their own interests while preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, everyone in that country benefits. Right-wingers seem to ignore the “preferring domestic industries” part because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

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14 Responses to “Even Adam Smith advocated for protectionist policies – the “invisible hand” in industry”

  1. The flaw – a sadly common one among Liberals – in your assertion is that you utterly ignore or are ignorant of the fact that Smith disliked international trade and considered it the worst way for any nation to gain and husband wealth,

    He was not in favor of protectionism so much as he was in favor of economic isolation, a model that we can;t shift to in these days.

    • Funny how you right-wingers just pick and choose crap that fits your simple-minded ideology that’s destroying our country.

      • It’s not picking and choosing when we’re right – as your lack of cogent argument clearly shows.

        What you Liberals keep ignoring is that it’s your Statists dreams that have harmed America, not Conservatives’ desires to keep the market as free as is possible and individuals as free from government interference as is practical.

        We’d far prefer to have a strong domestic business landscape, but Liberal policies have rendered that nigh on impossible by forcing manufacturing costs so far above what the rest of world can charge that we’re o longer competitive.

      • Just reflecting you, dearie. 🙂

      • [What you Liberals keep ignoring is that it’s your Statists dreams that have harmed America, not Conservatives’ desires to keep the market as free as is possible and individuals as free from government interference as is practical.]

        Yep, that’s the argument of the right-wing sheep. There’s plenty of evidence that moving towards a free market results in disaster every time. We saw it with the S&L scandal in the 80s and the near collapse of our banking sector a few years ago. But just stick to your sheepish ideology that regulation (or statism, as you like to call it), is bad for our country.

      • No. We have strong evidence that engaging in a mongrel hybrid of State-controlled economics and the Free Market leads to disasters — repeatedly and with no apparent end in sight.

        The market self-corrects unless the government steps in prevents companies from paying for their mistakes.

      • [We have strong evidence that engaging in a mongrel hybrid of State-controlled economics and the Free Market leads to disasters — repeatedly and with no apparent end in sight.]

        What is that evidence?

      • Dude,

        Just look at the economy and how many times various segments of the private and “public” sector have egregiously failed, only to be supported and bailed-out by the Feds – and went right back to piss-poor business practices.

        Look at the twisted way in which various subsidies are handed out and managed…

        Shall I go on?

        The market works best on its own; a controlled economy can work, though at a lower level of prosperity and with less adaptability and innovation; the misborn bastard you Liberals have largely created – some aid came from corporatist GOP types – doesn’t work and cannot work.

      • [Just look at the economy and how many times various segments of the private and “public” sector have egregiously failed, only to be supported and bailed-out by the Feds – and went right back to piss-poor business practices.]

        The times it failed were when we moved towards a free market economy. The markets are not self-regulating, as even Alan Greenspan has admitted. Businesses are generally only interested in one thing: profits. And without regulation, you wind up with worker abuse, a polluted environment, unsafe products, and monopolies. It happens every time. It’s bad for our country and in the long run, bad for everyone involved except for the wealthy.

        All you need to do is look at countries where they tried a free market. Somalia is a good example, as is Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was only after the government intervened in Russia that the economy started to stabilize.

        Your “free market” dream has no basis in reality.

  2. New ‘Medicare’ Taxes To Hit Middle Class
    For those who savor perverse policy incentives, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a gift that keeps on giving.

    Today’s surprise is a counterintuitive tax that, under certain circumstances, is small for low- to middle-income families, bigger for high-income families, but biggest of all for those caught in the middle.

    This tax is especially bad news for small businesses and for people in high cost-of-living parts of the country.

    For many years, most of us have paid a Medicare payroll tax of 1.45% on wages and salaries.

    But in 2013, the PPACA adds two new “Medicare” taxes. (“Medicare” is in quotes because the two new taxes really have nothing to do with Medicare and simply fund the PPACA’s huge insurance expansion.)

    Gift Of The MAGI

  3. Congrats!
    I hear your Liberal Democrat Sanitation Union in New York allowed a newborn to die because they wanted to have a childish and unprofessional tantrum.
    Congrats!

    –Adoptus 2010
    Adopt an Illegal Alien.

  4. Congrats Liberals. That’s $4 Trillion dollars in added debt in 2 years.
    Keep it up and we’ll all have stone knives and bear skins.

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