It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Originally posted by serpentine
I have a theory (and this will eventually become a very large thread once I work out what to call it)
One of the popular predictions about Russia is that when the permafrost thaws and the floods come, nothing will survive on Earth but Russia. The climate will change and Russia will occupy the best inhabitable zone. Plus, Russia is predicted to herald in world peace and flourish in the face of good fortune.
Today, roughly 7 percent of the planet’s arable land is either owned by the Russian state or by collective farms, but about a sixth of all that agricultural land — some 35 million hectares — lies fallow. By comparison, all of Britain has 6 million hectares of cultivatable land.
Originally posted by Unknown Perpetrator
Throughout history, Adam Smith observed, we find the workings of "the vile maxim of the masters of mankind": "All for ourselves, and nothing for other People." He had few illusions about the consequences. The invisible hand, he wrote, will destroy the possibility of a decent human existence "unless government takes pains to prevent" this outcome, as must be assured in "every improved and civilized society." It will destroy community, the environment and human values generally --which is why the business classes have regularly called for state intervention to protect them from market forces
Gavin Kennedy @ Adam Smith's Lost Legacy - September 17, 2008
Correspondents regularly ask me why I bother repudiating the invisible hand as being related to Adam Smith’s authorship, when I am not charged with misunderstanding the metaphor (even by distinguished scholarly colleagues).
Well, modern economists created a stick with which to beat those who doubted the significance of general equilibrium models or who challenged the alleged mystical (even divine) workings of commercial economies that somehow (never explained) ensured it produced the optimum outcome for the public good because, they assert with absolutely no evidence Adam Smith said so.
Now the believers and those who oppose markets on principle (strange, given the universal poor results, both personal and in terms of the public good of these tried and untried alternatives) are using the trumpeted myth of the invisible hand (which had nothing to do with Adam Smith on how markets work) to beat back the defenders of markets as better able to deliver what people want than politicians, single-issue campaigners, and anger-driven reformers.
There are many roles for the state, as Adam Smith acknowledged and which I regularly remind readers of on Lost Legacy. He was not opposed to state intervention in serious emergencies, and example of which you can read in his writings on the free trade in corn and his clear statements in favour of public intervention when corn markets are severely disrupted, often by cack-handed politicaly motivated ‘anti-dearth’ programmes that often initiate the famines they seek to avoid, Book IV, Wealth Of Nations).
In the storm of anti-market hysteria that builds up when events overrun normality we should quietly explain how economies work, how they recover, and what those politicians, who smugly believe that a week is a ‘long time’, are doing to make things worse, unintentionally of course.
All taxpayers’ money that governments mobilise to ‘support’ the economy originate in the commercial sector. If that dies, the economy dies – witness Zimbabwe; witness the release of commercial behaviours in India and China, as the state has pulled back from doing what it is not very good at; and witness how commercial actions of profitable businesses overcome the fall-out from banks in trouble (compare HBOS-Loyds TSB with the dragged-out saga of Northern Rock).
Maybe, economists should concentrate on how markets work and not on mythical nonsense about invisible hands (and that other nonsense of the visible hands of governments).