Hume presented a devastating criticism of Mercantilist thinking on trade and commerce, while at the same time, demonstrating the self-regulating and “balancing” forces of the market process.
One of the most cherished misunderstandings, if not delusions, of the social engineer – the individual who would presume to attempt to remake society through conscious and planned design – is the confident belief that he (and those like him) can ever know enough to successfully remold mankind and human institutions.
This talk examines the development, operation and performance of monetary systems in the absence of government intervention.
How currency monopolies promote booms and busts, and having a lender of last resort leads to moral hazard and financial instability.
Society was not created by design to provide safety and security, but, instead, freedom and rights emerged and evolved out of more primitive forms of tribal and collective association as responses to considered injustices and abusive power.
Clear moral principles, such as honesty, make the right—the self-interested, win-win—course of action so much easier.
Adam Smith was one of Hutcheson’s students in Glasgow, and his influence on Adam Smith was singularly significant, from everything from the importance of division of labor and the role of private property, to the normative notion of a free society based on a “system of natural liberty.”
The “moral” that Mandeville drew from his tale was that prosperous, wealthy and great societies only arise from men’s self-interested desires, and that is what made for successful civilizations: