2 comments on “Competition is Bad, M\’Kay?

  1. “consequences that society needs to control”

    The left make no distinction between society and state. For them the words are interchangeable.

  2. When Sir Keith Joseph (fellow of All Souls, Oxford) took up the post of Secretary of State for Industry in Mrs Thatcher’s first government in May 1979, he famously circulated a reading list to all senior civil servants in the department in which Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) featured prominently.

    There was some stir in the media at the time and civil servants were still discussing this into the 1990s. I mean, what possible relevance could a book written in the 18th century have in the late 20th century?

    The answer, of course, connects with the answer to the related question of how come that industrialisation was pioneered in Britain starting in the late 18th century and without state direction or central planning. We can’t re-run history under laboratory conditions for a controlled experiment but a recent and engaging attempt at an answer, mentioned earlier here, is in Gregory Clark’s book: A Farewell to Alms (Princeton UP, 2007).

    Adam Smith’s comment on the benefits of competition:

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
    http://www.efm.bris.ac.uk/het/smith/wealbk01

    Evidently, Guardian leader writers need a reading list.

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