The Wealth of a Nation

By Pia Varma

So what now? Before you reach for "The Dummies Guide to Getting America Back on Track" let me suggest another book. In fact, it happens to be the same book the Founding Fathers used when they were laying the foundation for this country. It’s called An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, now simply referred to as The Wealth of Nations.

Enter Adam Smith: eccentric, reclusive and absent-minded. He never married, he lived with his mother and he often talked to himself. Yet he emerged as one of the leading intellectual heavyweights of the Anglo-Scottish Enlightenment. In fact, many call him the father of modern day economics.

In 1776, Smith published The Wealth of Nations, introducing the world to a brand new concept: Free Market Economics. That same year, across the pond, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams and others were planning a revolution that would lead to the formation of what would become the wealthiest nation, a nation based entirely around Smith’s free market principles. But this wasn’t a coincidence.

The Scottish-born Smith had a profound influence on the Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin was his personal friend and James Madison was a big fan. Alexander Hamilton borrowed heavily from Smith in his own magnus opus, Report on Manufactures, and there are numerous references to Smith in the letters of Thomas Jefferson. Incredibly, George Washington’s signature was actually found in a 1789 edition of The Wealth of Nations.

Although Smith, himself, never ventured to the American colonies, there is no doubt that his ideas were being bounced around by these men over beers in Philadelphia’s City Tavern or in the debates at Constitution Hall.

But where did Smith’s ideas come from and what were they?

The forces that brought the ideas of Adam Smith to the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia had been set in motion centuries earlier, since the 14th Century re-emergence of Democracy and Republicanism in Italy. The simple concept that an individual could find truth without the aid of God and the Holy Roman Church had empowered the people of Europe, pulling them out of the Dark Ages and kick-starting a vibrant Renaissance.

Hungry for more knowledge, man leaped from one step of human pro-gress to another; the Renaissance became the Elizabethan Era, the Elizabethan Era was followed by the Age of Reason and the Age of Reason became the Age of Enlightenment. By the time the Age of Enlightenment rolled around, classical liberal ideas were in full force. New concepts such as inalienable rights and the acknowledgement of slavery’s immorality were being discussed in coffee houses and political salons across England, Scotland and America. Passions ran wild, and political activism was at its height. English author Thomas Paine had emigrated to the American colonies and was arguing for the rights of man. Edmund Burke and the radical Whigs in England were fighting against the abuses of King George III, just like their counterparts and allies in the American colonies.

By 1776, the stage was set for Adam Smith to introduce his free market ideas. The Wealth of Nations became an instant success, shattering the status quo and throwing a wrench into the power structure. Word about The Wealth of Nations travelled quickly from Scotland to England and throughout Europe, making its way across the Atlantic to the American colonies. The first edition was sold out in six months.

But what were these ideas that shook up the world? Essentially, Smith regarded Man as a rational being who, by acting in his own self-interest, would work to move society forward: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." In the same way, the Founders emphasized the individual’s right to his own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Jefferson promised in his first inaugural address that the U.S. government "shall leave [its citizens] otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned."

Smith wanted to find the right institutional framework that would turn his vision of a society where individuals traded freely into a reality. This framework became a Constitutional Republic, where laws protecting inalienable rights reigned supreme and no majority could vote those rights away. Both Smith and the Founders believed that this framework of laws would best enable individuals to "truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another," without interference from the state. The view of the world suggested in The Wealth of Nations is that monopoly power can’t exist without assistance of government.

Smith based his arguments on a very simple idea, that there exists an invisible hand guiding the economic development of society, and this invisible hand functions best when left alone. This invisible hand is made up of all productive members of society, and naturally spreads wealth and increases quality of life. When a government attempts to engineer markets with regulations, subsidies, protectionist policies, sanctions, special licenses, tariffs, taxes and stifling programs, it will always lead to unintended consequences. The Founders took note of this and made specific provisions and clauses in the Constitution, preventing the state from interfering in interstate commerce and promoting the general welfare of the people. They, too, under-stood that the economic system that provided the greatest good for the greatest number of people was the free market system.

At the time, this was an extremely revolutionary idea. Before Smith came along, nation-states had been laboring under a mercantilist system, believing that there was a finite amount of wealth in the world, which must be gobbled up as quickly as possible. In their view, life was a zero sum game; only winners and losers. Spain, England, Portugal, France and others were in constant competition. Wars were waged and marriages and other alliances were formed in this quest for power, dominance and wealth. The primary goal was to have a favorable balance of trade; exports greater than imports, with the difference being settled in gold or IOUs. To a mercantilist, wealth equaled gold and a favorable balance of trade meant more gold.

Smith stated that it is incorrect to think that the wealth of a nation depends upon its holdings of precious metals. Rather than Spain and England competing with each other to grab up resources, it would be in each of the countries’ best interests for them to both be thriving nations. It would mean more customers for their goods and services. Nations could trade with one another and everyone would win. The Founders adopted this worldview and made it the bedrock of U.S. foreign policy.

Smith called this concept Absolute Advantage. He argued that if England can produce a commodity such as cotton at a lower cost than Spain, and if Spain could produce another commodity, such as grain, at a lower cost than England, then each country should stick to doing what it does best and trade; costs go down and quality goes up.

But the idea of Absolute Advantage is not limited to the foreign trade. It also applies to trade within a country. Smith explained that a major contributing factor to the wealth of a nation was the productivity of labor. He went on to say that productivity of labor depended on the division of labor. In the same way that nation-states should stick to doing what they do best, so, too, should individuals specialize in a skill or craft and trade with one another. As labor becomes more divided and specialized, productivity increases and costs go down. The Founders implemented a system of government that enabled individuals to fill needs in the market and contribute to the wealth of the nation.

But, today, America is at a crossroads, choosing between the free market system advocated by Adam Smith and the Founding Fathers and mercantilist policies that dominated the world for centuries. In many ways, Americans still hold on to mercantilist ideas. Our leaders desperately try to protect domestic industries with tariffs, subsidies and other protectionist policies, hoping it will maintain our status as a world leader. They have been on a mission to create shovel-ready jobs for the hundreds of thousands of people who are out of work as opposed to allowing the invisible hand of the market to determine labor needs.

It’s unclear which direction America will take in the future. But the simple reality is that the Founding Fathers adopted the ideas in The Wealth of Nations when they laid the foundation for America, and the United States of America went on to become the wealthiest nation.

You can’t really argue with results.

 



<< Return to the September 2010

Sam Harris says there was 'absolutely' a 'Left-wing conspiracy' against Trump 2020 — but here's why it was 'warranted'

Image source: (Left) Video screenshot/ (Right) Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sam Harris, a neuroscientist, philosopher, New York Times bestselling author, and host of the reputedly non-partisan and intellectually honest "Making Sense" podcast, just destroyed his own credibility, if not his entire career, in less than two minutes by finally admitting what he really thinks about free speech and censorship.

On the YouTube show and podcast "TRIGGERnometry," with hosts Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster, Harris addressed censorship of the New York Post's now-infamous Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the November 2020 election.

“Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement, I would not have cared,” Harris stated. "Whatever the scope of Joe Biden's corruption is ... — getting kickbacks from Hunter Biden's deals in Ukraine ... or China — it is infinitesimal compared to the corruption we know Donald Trump is involved in."

Harris goes on to admit that suppressing the information found on Hunter Biden's laptop until after the was "absolutely" a "Left-wing conspiracy to deny the presidency to Donald Trump," but argued that "it was warranted."

"I'm sorry ... but you've just said something I really struggle with there," Kisin interjected. "You're saying you are content with a Left-wing conspiracy to prevent somebody being democratically reelected as president?"

"It was a conspiracy out in the open, but it doesn't matter what part's conspiracy, what part's out in the open," Harris responded. He went on to justify the election-influencing "Left-wing conspiracy" by suggesting that President Donald Trump was the equivalent of "an asteroid hurtling toward Earth."


On a recent episode of Glenn TV, Glenn Beck discussed the most recent findings in the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Don't get distracted by the seemingly endless stream of scandalous photos and videos, Glenn warns, it's what's coming out about Hunter's overseas business dealings that should be all over the media, because Joe Biden is involved too.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode here.


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The Left and their lapdog media are STILL busy looking for anyone and anything to blame for January 6. Their goal is to make "extremists" out of half of America, and Christians are next in line.

Faith is now on trial in the media, which dramatically reports lies like “a rise in a white Christian nationalist movement,” “The GOP: A party of Christian nationalists,” “It’s a radically anti-democratic ideology,” “Stamp the entire Republican Party as fans of this white Christian nationalism,” and “When they envision ‘one nation under God,’ it is a White Christian Nation.”

WRONG.

On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck brings the definitive proof that America’s heritage is NOT “white Christian nationalism.” It’s important to understand – and be able to explain why – acknowledging the historical reality of America’s Christian heritage is NOT the same thing as “white Christian nationalism.”

The attacks to smear any recognition of Christian influence in America’s founding as a dangerous threat to democracy do not hold up to honest scrutiny. Do not accept this dangerous smear campaign, and share this fact-filled rebuttal with your friends.

Watch the full episode below:

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After getting WALLOPED in Wyoming, Liz Cheney thinks she could win the White House in 2024

Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wyoming Republicans have sent Rep. Liz Cheney — and the Republican Party — a "massive message" by voting her out of Congress, but it now looks like Cheney is trying to turn this into an Abraham Lincoln moment.

After seeming to compare herself to former President Abraham Lincoln, who "was defeated in elections for the Senate and the House before he won the most important election of all" during a speech Tuesday night, Cheney appeared on NBC's "TODAY" show Wednesday and told host Savannah Guthrie that she's "thinking about" a White House run.

Is it possible she didn't get the message?

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere marveled at Cheney's tone-deaf response to Tuesday's devastating defeat, which, surprisingly, was not even the weirdest thing about this election.

"I think a humiliating and devastating loss puts you right where you need to be to launch a presidential campaign. Don't you think?" Glenn asked.

"Let me ask Beto O'Rourke. Hold on one second. I'll get him on the phone," Stu joked. "I mean, really, what is the constituency for a Liz Cheney presidency? She basically runs the state of Wyoming, and her family runs the state of Wyoming, and she got 29% of the vote there. So what is the constituency, other than the possibility of running as an independent candidate to shave votes from Donald Trump?"

"She's going to be brave and she's going to take that stage with Donald Trump ... She's going to be the one that takes him on and she will last all of about 45 seconds," Glenn said. "He will pummel her."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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'Bye bye Liz Cheney': Donald Trump Jr. EASILY triggers liberals​​​​​​ with just one silly tweet

(Left) Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images/ (Right) SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. celebrated Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney's humiliating defeat in her state's GOP primary by releasing a 30-second video that was clearly intended to trigger the Trump-hating liberals on Twitter — and, naturally, it worked like a charm.

Rep. Cheney was defeated by Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman on Tuesday in the Republican primary for Wyoming's at-large congressional district.

Don Jr. took to Twitter to poke fun at Cheney's loss by posting a video montage of his father, former President Donald Trump, dancing with the caption, "Bye bye @Liz_Cheney. On the bright side at least you won’t have to pretend to be from Wyoming anymore."

Hoo boy, talk about kicking the hornets' nest. The reactions on Twitter were so predictably full of vulgarity, name-calling, and low-brow insults that we can't share most of them here, but you've seen it all before.

Don Jr. has had an interesting couple of days on Twitter. Just yesterday he was actually vindicated by fact-checkers (yes, you read that right) who called BS on a widely circulated but completely fabricated tweet that made it look like he was bashing his father's supporters.

Don Jr. joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to weigh in on the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid and explain why he believes the Justice Department targeted his father and pedaled lies to justify it. He also gave his advice on what conservatives can do to peacefully and lawfully stand up against a system that's ignoring their rights.

Watch the video clip below. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.


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