What Adam Smith really said

Many people think Adam Smith, author of “The Wealth of Nations,” gave his blanket endorsement to any activity as long as it makes money in the free market.

Not so at all.

“This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise or, at least, neglect persons of poor and mean conditions…is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”

Adam Smith. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Section III, Chap. II

This is a two-parted statement:

Part One: Admiring, almost to the point of worshipping, the rich and powerful
Part Two: Despising, or even just neglecting, the unfortunate

Either is unacceptable behavior and together they’re a moral catastrophe.

But sadly, doesn’t this define the messages we get from the news media and people who parrot the ravings of the news media?

If you have a different feeling about how the world should work, you’re not alone. Act on it and in time you’ll come across others who feel the same way.

– Ken McCarthy

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