What Smith & Confucius Say

Democracy is kinda like a many-layered cake, with a mix that encompasses a wide swath of its subject nation, and which at times may seem a mess, yet like baking, or like how I bake on those rare occasions, out of that mess has produced some tasty things, not the least of which are ideas.

So recently I was watching a doc on Adam Smith, that philosopher of moral standards who spoke of prosperity for the many in the late 18th century as the enlightenment was opening many minds to new ideas, and whatta know, opened my mind to new ideas. It went into how Smith has become a guide to many in burgeoning global markets, yet today is maligned and misunderstood and therefore somewhat ignored in the west; although apparently not so in China, where new free markets are opening wide and Smith’s Moral Standards has become popular reading as it bears a resemblance to Confusism.

One point that for me resonated is how a free market for goods without a free market for ideas is more or less lopsided and weak. New ideas, after all, bring new ways of doing business, bring efficiencies and fosters future growth, as innovation does not happen in a vacuum, a closed system loop feeding on itself will eventually collapse.

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” 

Confucius

Smith, born in 1723, was a Scottish philosopher and economist writing in the early years of the industrial revolution that swept across Britain beginning around 1760, and so the ideas he penned where new and fresh, and a product of the Enlightenment which had brought Europe out of the dark ages of Medieval minds, of smothered science and divine rights of monarchy. It is also at this time democracy was gaining ground, and new ideas were at play, mixing things up and the people were beginning to tire of being so reliant on the powers that be for their welfare, as the burgeoning middle class surged forward with innovations tired old wealthy lords would never have profited from as their days of power were numbered.

The Republican Party still touts that idea of Smith’s, of limited government, yet that is all it is, is talk. A ruse since in fact, they offer no such thing but monopolizing and gerrymandering the system with MORE government so as to work in their own favour and to further their own goals, by INCREASING the role of government.

Smith believes that government itself must be limited. Its core functions are maintaining defence, keeping order, building infrastructure and promoting education. It should keep the market economy open and free, and not act in ways that distort it.

The Adam Smith Institute

Smith’s seminal work, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth Of Nations was published in 1776;

The Wealth of Nations deeply influenced the politicians of the time and provided the intellectual foundation of the great nineteenth-century era of free trade and economic expansion. Even today the common sense of free trade is accepted worldwide, whatever the practical difficulties of achieving it.

IBID

You can still today see how many would prefer to go back to those medieval times, of wealth and power being isolated at the top, with the majority at the bottom sucking the marrow from the bones thrown them by their lord and master. Control at all costs is about power at all cost and weakens the whole nation it is said to be serving and protecting, where in fact they are merely manipulating it to serve themselves, and certainly, I don’t think this is how you go about making America great again.

Adams spoke of giving the markets free reign, but he also spoke of the role of government as providing those necessities that would keep their people protected and educated, with good infrastructure and all those boring sorts of aspects of life that the average person requires day to day – I would also add to that mix some kind of universal healthcare, and I think we have a winner.

It is classic economics from the perspective of a time of new ideas and new technologies that changed the face of Britain, with the invention of the steam-powered engine and new philosophies, and while he did not invent the ideas he wrote about, he gathered them together to better explain them to the average person, and thus set off a domino effect of economic philosophy and the birth of capitalism.

“The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” was a treatise about how human communication relies on sympathy. The book extensively explored ideas such as morality and human sympathy. In the book, Smith argued that people are self-interested but naturally like to help others. He introduced the concept of an “inner man” and an “impartial spectator” responsible for guiding human action. Both help to reconcile passion with reason, which is a basis for economic systems and provide a basis for the creation of institutions within human society. The book also includes elements of social psychology along with our instinct for self-preservation. The former is mainly expressed through a shared morality and sense of justice. An excess of emotion can prove to be harmful to both; hence, the human instinct to curb emotions to a socially acceptable form.

INVESTOPEDIA | Adam Smith: The Father of Economics

That idea of social acceptability is so very Victorian and sounds so much like things my Grandmother would have said to me, although, there is some merit in that advice.

As decorum may seem today a quaint notion, in fact, has a place in our overpopulated urban centres, our suburbs growing, and more and more we are in each others way. Get along and keeping the peace is often about social graces and treating others with respect, law and order, and a generally agreed upon standard of treating others as you would wish to be treated.

Khorgos is a flagship project of this work in progress, an international shipping hub and free-trade zone that its promoters say is poised to become the next Dubai. Thanks to its location at the junction of the world’s soon-to-be-largest national economy and its largest landlocked country, Khorgos has become an unlikely harbinger of the interconnected planet: a zone fully enclosed by the logic of globalization, where goods flow freely across sovereign borders, following corridors designed to locate every human being on the planet within a totalizing network of producers and consumers, buyers and sellers.

The New York Times | Can China Turn the Middle of Nowhere
Into the Center of the World Economy? 
|
By BEN MAUK Photographs and Video by ANDREA FRAZZETTA, JAN. 30, 2019

Anywho, the times they are a changing, when China lands on the dark side of the moon and is building what they call a new silk road, a giant infrastructure project to bring Chinese made goods to the global market, but also to facilitate other goods from other markets that would have been impossible to get to previously, and what is America doing? Fighting over a wall with a delusional president touting all these wonderful things that have for the most part been, well, fabrications.

“Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” 

Confucius

Guess Trump believes fantasy and illusion are the way to make American great again, as the idiot won’t even listen to what his own intel chiefs are telling him.

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