Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adam Smith and Farmer Boy

I take it back. Last week when I started Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, I was overwhelmed by the introduction. It was heady and cumbersome-something I hate in books.

However, I am a little further along now, and I take it back-at least so far (I am only as far as chapter 5 in book 1). Smith is brilliant. No wonder he changed the world. He is insightful, clear spoken and not too philosophical.

For example, when he talks about value and the foundation for money, he almost quotes from Almanzo's father in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book Farmer Boy.

It's work, son,” Father said. That's what money is; it's hard work.”

(If you are laughing right now it is because Adam Smith wrote almost 100 years before Almanzo was born, and his dad was likely quoting Adam Smith, not the other way around... that is unless you believe in time travel...)

Anyway, I have to say, that reading the founder of Capitalism himself, I have never been as impressed with the foundation of the system. There have been people who abuse the system, people who write about it and try to make it worse than it is, but Adam Smith's system makes solid sense.

We shall see if the rest of the book is as the first 5 chapters, but at this point I would recommend it, even for high school and advanced middle school students.

The reason I am reading it, and recommend others do as well is because of a conversation I had last weekend in Denver. I was talking with a well spoken Ron Paul fan. This young
man was explaining why the American dollar needed to be abolished as it currently stands.

I was explaining my general thoughts thoughts about money and he told me that my view was Marxist. That threw me off. Marxist?! He didn't quite buy it when I said I was pretty sure that my views were grounded in Adam Smith, but I was unable to speak with authority because I'd only read what other people said about his writings.

So that is why I am reading The Wealth of Nations now. And I can said with confidence that our dollar is not based on Marx, but on the “founder” of Capitalism.

Have you read Laura Ingalls Wilder? If so, what is your favorite quote?
Have you ever been accused of being a Marxist? What did you say?
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