Adam Smith on the character of the American rebels

They are very weak who flatter themselves that, in the state to which things have come, our colonies will be easily conquered by force alone. The persons who now govern the resolutions of what they call their continental congress, feel in themselves at this moment a degree of importance which, perhaps, the greatest subjects in … Continue reading Adam Smith on the character of the American rebels

Adam Smith: a historical historical detective?

Adrian Blau at King’s College London has an on-going project of making methods in political theory more useful, transparent and instructive, especially for students interested in historical scholarship. I found his methods lecture, that he gave to Master’s students and went onto publish as ‘History of political thought as detective work’, particularly helpful for formulating … Continue reading Adam Smith: a historical historical detective?

Adam Smith, Or: The More Things Change…

…the more they stay the same. I have moved on from Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws to Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in my Honors course on Western thought (it is being taught by a professor who is part of this blogging consortium, in case you are curious; it is part of my … Continue reading Adam Smith, Or: The More Things Change…

Dear Mr. Pirie, refrain from using the “neoliberal” label

A few days ago, Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute announced the publication of the Neoliberal Mind.  Basically, Pirie accepts the grab-everything-we-don’t-like tag that many would-be thinkers have tried for decades to stick upon what we can refer to as the “liberal right” (I prefer the French expression of droite libérale). All he does is take the … Continue reading Dear Mr. Pirie, refrain from using the “neoliberal” label

“Watch” the (industrial) revolution!

I don’t know how I missed such a valuable article, but O’Grada and Kelly have this fascinating piece on the price of watches in England from the early 18th century to the early 19th century in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Starting from Adam Smith’s quote that the price of watches had fallen 95% over roughly one … Continue reading “Watch” the (industrial) revolution!

O que é socialismo?

Alguns posts atrás fiz uma exposição sobre o que é capitalismo, e também procurei expor e desmistificar alguns equívocos a respeito dele. Nos próximos posts pretendo fazer algo semelhante com o socialismo: explicar o que é e desfazer alguns mitos e equívocos. Falando a respeito de capitalismo, expliquei que esta palavra é utilizada de forma … Continue reading O que é socialismo?

Taxes, Free-riding, and Federation

Check out Adam Smith complaining about the rent-seeking that the UK’s North American colonies were practicing back in 1776: The expence of the ordinary peace establishment of the colonies amounted, before the commencement of the present disturbances, to the pay of twenty regiments of foot; to the expence of the artillery, stores, and extraordinary provisions … Continue reading Taxes, Free-riding, and Federation

Some afterthoughts on Rio Paralympics

Paralympics are over, and with them the cycle of Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Once again the city was able to put up a good show, and thankfully all went well in the Cidade Maravilhosa. But not everything is alright in Rio: even more than the Olympics, the Paralympics were able to show the … Continue reading Some afterthoughts on Rio Paralympics

Alguns mitos, equívocos e objeções comuns ao capitalismo

No meu último post ofereci uma definição de capitalismo baseada nos conceitos de escolha pessoal, trocas voluntárias, liberdade de competição e direitos de propriedade privada. Em resumo, um capitalismo liberal ou uma sociedade de livre mercado. Neste post eu gostaria de começar a desfazer alguns mitos, equívocos e objeções comuns ao capitalismo (se entendido nos … Continue reading Alguns mitos, equívocos e objeções comuns ao capitalismo

O que é capitalismo?

O Brasil é capitalista? O capitalismo é culpado por vários problemas que observamos no Brasil? E outros países? A China é hoje um país de economia capitalista, ainda que com política socialista (ou comunista)? O capitalismo prejudica os mais pobres enquanto beneficia os mais ricos? Estas são algumas questões com as quais me esbarro regularmente. … Continue reading O que é capitalismo?

Why Brexit is bad for Liberty

I have been debating classical liberalism and the European Union with Edwin van de Haar. For the moment at least, I think the debate should end or we will risk repetition of previously made points. I would like to thank Edwin for a constructive debate and to invited readers to read through it themselves. Now … Continue reading Why Brexit is bad for Liberty

Classical Liberalism and the Nation State

Barry’s response to my earlier post is another interesting read, yet it is also rather broad brush historical. I think he is erroneous if he claims that ‘it did not occur to classical liberals, on the whole, to question the state system as they knew it’. In fact the founding fathers of classical liberalism, David … Continue reading Classical Liberalism and the Nation State

Would a Universal Basic Income Increase Poverty?

Switzerland has recently overwhelming voted against a proposal that would establish a universal income guarantee (sometimes called a “basic income guarantee” or the similar Friedman-influenced “negative income tax”[1]). Though I myself am a supporter of BIG as a nth best policy alternative for pragmatic reasons,[2] I’m unsure if I myself would have voted for this … Continue reading Would a Universal Basic Income Increase Poverty?

From the Comments: Why care about Syrians?

Dr Gibson notes: I’d say the “big question” makes no sense. Surely some Syrians would be better off under ISIS and some under Assad. And there’s a bigger question: who the hell cares? Few if any of us Americans have enough information to judge this issue nor should we. We have our own fish to … Continue reading From the Comments: Why care about Syrians?

Were Confucians the first internationalists?

Sheng [Hong] uses the term in this broader sense, so that we can say that tianxia zhuyi is the idea of a global civilization that encompasses a diversity of cultures. In fact, this interpretation matches with the historical evolution of the Chinese empire, which was a multiethnic body politic based on certain universal civilizational principles … Continue reading Were Confucians the first internationalists?