Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

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Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#1  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 11:42 am

Both Adam Smith and Karl Marx were atheist freethinkers, adherents of the enlightenment. They both adhered to the idea that the society and economy should be focused on improving the lives of ordinary people, and wanted to make an end to the exploitation of ordinary people by the elite. They differed heavily on the tool, the economy. While Adam Smith believed in a free market that improves individual lives, Karl Marx was against the exploitation of ordinary people by employers and customers on the free market.
The last few years, the fight between liberals and socialists regarding the economy have been strong here on Ratskep, so i thought it would be nice to go back to the root of the conflict in the 18th and 19th century. Suppose there is no god, and we want to improve life for most people, how should we use the important tool of the organization of the economy?
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#2  Postby cavarka9 » Apr 16, 2011 11:46 am

Amartya sen on "The Uses and Abuses of Adam Smith".
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUPAIdK126s[/youtube]

Sen starts at 6:28
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#3  Postby cavarka9 » Apr 16, 2011 11:59 am

a little off topic, but amartya sen does get boring so people need a bit of amusement to come back
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtPkxzHK ... re=related
marraige proposal on basket ball court and the girl walks out.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#4  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 3:31 pm

I guess i have been taken by those who misrepresented Adam Smith. Maybe it should be Ricardo versus Marx, because there is definitely some alienation between two camps on economic issues within atheism. On the other hand, the so-called adherents of adam Smith are often lyers. Another topic could be if it is okay to lie about the truth.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#5  Postby cavarka9 » Apr 16, 2011 3:35 pm

Daan wrote:I guess i have been taken by those who misrepresented Adam Smith. Maybe it should be Ricardo versus Marx, because there is definitely some alienation between two camps on economic issues within atheism. On the other hand, the so-called adherents of adam Smith are often lyers. Another topic could be if it is okay to lie about the truth.


Come on, say the truth, you watched the marriage proposal thing didnt you and it did lighten you didnt it. :crazy:
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#6  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 5:44 pm

I hardly ever lie, i should do it more often. But lying is too boring.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#7  Postby cavarka9 » Apr 16, 2011 6:11 pm

Daan wrote:I hardly ever lie, i should do it more often. But lying is too boring.

Did you watch it while also watching amartya sens lecture?. That is all I am asking.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#8  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 6:15 pm

I only saw the first 15 minutes of Amartya Sen, but i did see the whole other video.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#9  Postby psikeyhackr » Apr 16, 2011 6:22 pm

Daan wrote:While Adam Smith believed in a free market that improves individual lives, Karl Marx was against the exploitation of ordinary people by employers and customers on the free market.

Suppose there is no god, and we want to improve life for most people, how should we use the important tool of the organization of the economy?


The problem is that the second industrial revolution was just getting going when Karl Marx died. For instance the transformer was invented in 1876 and Marx died in 1883. Transformers are a fundamental component in the use of electricity.

Henry Ford comes up with the Model-T in 1908.

What did Karl Marx say about the effect of planned obsolescence on the Gross Domestic Product? Planned Obsolescence is a 20th century economic phenomenon. Marx and Smith did not have a clue about it. Keynes was born the year Marx died. I am not aware of Keynes having said anything about it. He died in 1946. The world population was less than 3 billion.

So we are currently in a state where most of the historical ideas do not apply. Galbraith wrote about PO in 1959 in his book The Affluent Society. I think we need to stop focusing on quite dated economic thinking and figure out how technology has changed the economic environment.

But Smith did talk about ENLIGHTENED SELF INTEREST though. Who is supposed to be enlightened? Double-entry accounting is 700 years old. We have cheap computers everywhere. Why shouldn't EVERYBODY know accounting now? Maybe the Economic Wargame depends on most people not knowing how to play. Maybe we need more Game Theory via John von Neumann.

http://www.amazon.com/Neumann-Morgenste ... nskepti-20

It is very interesting what an economist says about accounting though.

http://www.usmessageboard.com/3536705-post148.html

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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#10  Postby cavarka9 » Apr 16, 2011 6:29 pm

Daan wrote:I only saw the first 15 minutes of Amartya Sen, but i did see the whole other video.

:thumbup: , I knew that most other people would watch the other video, it refreshes the mind, then one can decide whether they want to go the full distance or say gud bye.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#11  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 6:32 pm

psikeyhackr wrote:The problem is that the second industrial revolution was just getting going when Karl Marx died. For instance the transformer was invented in 1876 and Marx died in 1883. Transformers are a fundamental component in the use of electricity.

Henry Ford comes up with the Model-T in 1908.

What did Karl Marx say about the effect of planned obsolescence on the Gross Domestic Product? Planned Obsolescence is a 20th century economic phenomenon. Marx and Smith did not have a clue about it. Keynes was born the year Marx died. I am not aware of Keynes having said anything about it. He died in 1946. The world population was less than 3 billion.

So we are currently in a state where most of the historical ideas do not apply. Galbraith wrote about PO in 1959 in his book The Affluent Society. I think we need to stop focusing on quite dated economic thinking and figure out how technology has changed the economic environment.

But Smith did talk about ENLIGHTENED SELF INTEREST though. Who is supposed to be enlightened? Double-entry accounting is 700 years old. We have cheap computers everywhere. Why shouldn't EVERYBODY know accounting now? Maybe the Economic Wargame depends on most people not knowing how to play. Maybe we need more Game Theory via John von Neumann.

http://www.amazon.com/Neumann-Morgenste ... nskepti-20

It is very interesting what an economist says about accounting though.

http://www.usmessageboard.com/3536705-post148.html

psik


What i tried to do was getting the discussion away from the big trnech war that goes on between proponents and enemies of the free market. Maybe a way of doing this is to go back to the roots of thinking on this issue. But, you are right that just focusing on two big names doesn't mean anything. That won't make an end to the conflict that keeps on going in the Politics forum. Not that i want to make an end to the discussion, i simply try a more sofisticated route.

Cavarka did point out that Smith isn't such a strong adherent of the free market, so i fell in the trap that free market worshippers have made, by using his name for their cause. We can say at least that Marx would never talk positively about enlightened self-interest. So, there is clearly a difference between the two.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#12  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 6:34 pm

cavarka9 wrote: :thumbup: , I knew that most other people would watch the other video, it refreshes the mind, then one can decide whether they want to go the full distance or say gud bye.


I first looked at the marriage proposal. That guy must have tried too early.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#13  Postby psikeyhackr » Apr 16, 2011 6:37 pm

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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#14  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 7:22 pm

When i got the time i will watch it better. I don't think it helps an internet discussion to post a whole lot of videos on the first page though. Though, if people actually watch them and discuss them, than it would be better than not using such material.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#15  Postby The Plc » Apr 16, 2011 7:49 pm

As someone who has actually read both I'd say that the two thinkers were more similar than most people seem to assume. Reading Wealth of Nations is actually quite a shock when your preconception of Smith is based on the image constructed by right wing think tanks and such. Smith was strongly opposed to excessive concentration of capital for example, and worker inequity. It's particularly notable for it's examination of mercantilism and imperialism. He advocated what we would call today social democratic or democratic socialist policies, such poverty relief, better working standards, economic democracy, and iinterestingly secular education for children and adults, free from the 'mad enthusiasm' of the religious.

WoN is quite a tedious read at times though. The random discursive passages about coin shavings and the fact he never lays out a specific thesis in clear words means you require patience to get his real insights. I'll have to read Theory of Moral Sentiments one day when I need an Enlightenment kick.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#16  Postby Daan » Apr 16, 2011 8:09 pm

I guess i shouldn't have started this discussion, because i know too little about Adam Smith. It puzzles me why Enlightenment thought is so unpopular these days in the West. It leads to a deterioration of the economy. Though i have the impression that countries like France and Germany are still pretty Enlightened.
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#17  Postby psikeyhackr » Apr 16, 2011 10:03 pm

The Plc wrote: Reading Wealth of Nations is actually quite a shock when your preconception of Smith is based on the image constructed by right wing think tanks and such. Smith was strongly opposed to excessive concentration of capital for example, and worker inequity. It's particularly notable for it's examination of mercantilism and imperialism. He advocated what we would call today social democratic or democratic socialist policies, such poverty relief, better working standards, economic democracy, and iinterestingly secular education for children and adults, free from the 'mad enthusiasm' of the religious.


That is it exactly! That is what happened to me when I watched Galbraith's Age of Uncertainty. We are bombarded with economic propaganda which distorts the ideas to serve selected purposes. Galbraith himself gets more bad press than good and his books have practically disappeared from bookstore. The system depends on most people being disenfranchised via confusion and ignorance. Milton Friedman came out with Free to Choose a bit later but it really just said, Believe in Capitalism and it will set you Free.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3N2sNnGwa4

It is propagandistic crap.

A few years ago I even emailed the BBC to find out how I could get Age of Uncertainty. Until someone uploaded it to YouTube I had not seen it in 30 years. I still don't how to get it besides downloading it off YouTube. I have the book that I bought in 1977 though. I would suggest that sooner than reading Smith and Marx. An intelligent analysis can be worth more than trying to read the original because there is just too much original stuff to read and I don't want to know as much about economics as Galbraith did to be able to do as good an analysis.

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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#18  Postby The Plc » Apr 16, 2011 10:48 pm

Smith is something of a Capitalist Jesus. Plenty of right wing idealogues that worship him but strangely never bother to read and do what he actually advocated.

An interesting blog with an essay on Smith from Sen

http://adamsmithslostlegacy.blogspot.co ... ys-on.html

Despite all Smith did to explain and defend the constructive role of the market, he was deeply concerned about the incidence of poverty, illiteracy and relative deprivation that might remain despite a well-functioning market economy. He wanted institutional diversity and motivational variety, not monolithic markets and singular dominance of the profit motive. Smith was not only a defender of the role of the state in doing things that the market might fail to do, such as universal education and poverty relief (he also wanted greater freedom for the state-supported indigent than the Poor Laws of his day provided); he argued, in general, for institutional choices to fit the problems that arise rather than anchoring institutions to some fixed formula, such as leaving things to the market.”
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#19  Postby GT2211 » Apr 20, 2011 2:26 pm

There was an discussion on Mark Thoma's blog a while back where one of the articles on Smith by an historian had argued that people read Smith's view in the wrong light. It was meant at the time as a descriptive work of what he was seeing around him, not as a prescriptive work for future societies which it is generally viewed as today. IDK if that is correct or not but it was interesting nonetheless.

I haven't read all of Smith's works and very little of Marx. I know one my professors has told me that if you just read the Wealth of Nations you are not getting the whole concept and that he believes one of the bigger mistakes is that so many economic programs require reading the WoN without the Theory of Moral Sentiments which he feels is important to really tie the work together and understand it. I will try and watch the Armatya Sen video and comment on it later. My posting has been rather light lately as I haven't had internet at my house. :(
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Re: Adam Smith versus Karl Marx

#20  Postby rEvolutionist » Apr 20, 2011 3:28 pm

:popcorn:
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Therefore God exists (and is a carrot).
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