I suspect Smith would have scoffed at last week’s attack on Norman from the London-based Adam Smith Institute. ‘With Jesse Norman as a Tory MP why bother having a Labour Party’ was the title of a blog that accused him of being “drippingly wet”.
Well, yes, try attack from 2013.
Smith’s evocative “invisible hand” phrase – coupled with his dictum that we should not expect our dinner from the baker, brewer and butcher because of their benevolence but because of their self-interest – helped people understand how self-serving behaviours can enrich the general population more effectively than centrally-planned and managed systems. But it was possibly too evocative. The temptation is focus on that aspect of his work, much like a preacher who has a few favourite Bible verses and neglects study of the longer Old and New Testament books which can appear too much like hard work or too uncomfortable to embrace. But there’s so much more to Smith than markets good, governments bad, baa, baa, baa.
Well, yes, and if Tim M would like to explain the connection between the invisible hand and the incidence of corporation tax then we’ll accept that he’s read and digested.
This amuses greatly:
At a time when changes in technology, the nature of capitalism, democratic organisation, family structure and journalism are happening simultaneously and interactively, at the top of our societies we have tech giants who turn blind eyes to immoral uses of their products, economists who only count what is statistically counted,
I’m really pretty sure that I keep insisting that we’re not in fact counting the important things. And that we’re not explains a great deal about our modern world. But, you know:
Oh, and f**k think tanks that claim to represent great thinkers but haven’t, seemingly, read the full works of those thinkers. A charge that could not begin to be levelled at Jesse Norman.
But then Jesse’s the sort of limp left Tory that Tim M thinks should be running the world.