This quote originates from Alexander Hamilton’s statement regarding the constitutionality of the power of the federal government to establish a national bank. Specifically, Alexander Hamilton was responding to a request made by President George Washington to three of his principal cabinet members on the legal question of the power of the federal government to incorporate: Attorney General Edmund Randolph, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was in fact the originator of the plan to establish such an institution on the grounds that it would assist in maintaining the accounts of the treasury, facilitate in the financing of the government’s debts and essential services like defense, and ultimately, maintain the value of the nation’s currency.
In his 1663 England’s Interest and Improvement - Consisting in the Increase of the Store, and Trade of this Kingdom, addressed to Charles the II, the author of this early tract on commerce, the esquire Samuel Fortrey advances the ideas of concentrated and diffuse interests.
In the final chapter of her history of the American Revolution, Mercy Otis Warren suggests that as the war came to a successful conclusion, it was reasonable to assume that the principles of republican liberty would remain central to America well into the future. This was true “in consequence of their attachment to the religion of the fathers, united with a spirit of independence relative to civil government.” Nevertheless, she did have some concerns.
Professor Alchian, in this quote, makes implicit reference to Lionel Robbins’ canonical definition of economics as. “the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.”
Many in the founding generation looked to antiquity for models of exemplary behavior. On occasion John Adams admitted his admiration for and desire to emulate Cincinnatus and Cicero. George Washington had a fondness for Cato (or at least Addison’s play Cato), and as an adolescent copied into his notebook over 100 “rules of Civility and Decent Behavior” from an English translation from a French book of maxims. Benjamin Franklin also kept a book in which he copied rules for virtuous behavior, which contained quotations from Addison, Cicero, and the Proverbs of Solomon. In addition to modeling his behavior on historical examples, Franklin decided on a more direct approach in shaping his character. He identified key moral virtues and ordered them from the most foundational and essential to the lesser virtues. Here is his list of virtues, found in Part II of his Autobiography.
The rationale for limited and temporary protection to allow the establishment of an “infant industry” can already be found in Adam Smith’s 1776 Wealth of Nations as one of the two exceptions that, with qualifications, Smith accepts for the general rule of free trade ( national defense being the other one). With less reluctance, Alexander Hamilton in 1791 advocated for protective tariffs based on the same reasoning, making the argument for protection to “infant industry” explicit.
In this brief passage, Ricardo discusses some basic principles of taxation. First, he acknowledges that taxation will always reduce the disposable income of the economic agents to be taxed; there is no way around that.
The Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790) was the author of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). In Part 1, section 3, chapter 1 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith explores sympathy with the joy and sorrow of others. He believes that we are more apt to sympathize with joy and more likely to be able to sympathize completely—that is, feel almost as strongly as the person with whom we sympathize—than with sorrow. In the course of explaining why we might feel more in concert with the happiness of others as we do with their sorrow, Smith writes:
Starting with Adam Smith, the cornerstone of the field of study of economics has been the division of labor. Either by force, or voluntarily, human societies progressed to the extent that they were able to create institutions that allow individuals to cooperate with one another in the production of goods and services. In primitive societies, most relations, including economic relations, were organized by involuntary arrangements, be that traditional forms of bondage, or any other subjection legally enforced such as slavery.
The Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790) was the author of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). In his discussion of how people judge themselves in Part 3, chapter 4 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith writes:
It is commonly accepted that modern finances started with the establishment of the Bank of England (BoE) in 1694. In exchange for securing a loan from a group of merchants, the Crown asked Parliament to give the bank a charter that would allow them to issue banknotes that would be accepted in payment of taxes owed to the crown. Those banknotes would be redeemable in gold coins on demand by the bank, and with that, a system by which money began to be supplied both by government, in the form of metal coins and by the commercial banks in the form of banknotes redeemable in gold or silver coins took shape.
The Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790) was the author of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). In his discussion of how people judge themselves in Part 3, chapter 2 of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith writes:
Two years after their victory at Waterloo, when David Ricardo wrote “The Iron Laws of Wages,” in 1817, the British had already won the Napoleonic Wars, but the suspension decreed in 1794 of redemption in gold of the banknotes issued in profusion by the Bank of England (BoE) to finance that war was still four years in the future. There were much more paper money in circulation than what would be possible to redeem with the paltry reserves of gold in the coffers of all the banks in the empire if the pre-war parity were to be respected. Because the honor of the Crown demanded the public debt to be repaid at the parity in which it was contracted, a long and painful deflationary process was initiated as the troops were demobilized, military costs slashed, and gold gradually accumulated again in the vaults of the BoE. Therefore, nominal wages needed to be reduced substantially if the deflation of the currency was to be successful and redemption at the pre-war parity resumed.
Benjamin Franklin was one of the earliest promoters of the idea of a union of the English colonies in North America, as can be seen in the following quotation.
The Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790) was the author of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). In his discussion of “unproductive” labour in Book II, chapter 3 of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Smith writes: In his discussion of “unproductive” labour in Book II, chapter 3 of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Smith writes:
Early in the 1960s, many developed countries were still living under some interventionist policies introduced to regiment private enterprise for the effort of winning WWII, such as exchange controls, confiscatory income tax rates, wage and price controls, and the like. At the same time, the substance of what the new reborn liberalism was after the catastrophes of WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII was not yet clear. It was to be different from the classical 19th-century liberalism, but its meaning was not yet clear then. That is the context in which Milton Friedman made the following statement:
The Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790) was the author of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). In Wealth of Nations, Smith writes:
Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) was the grandson of a founder and leader of the English Whigs, and was tutored by John Locke. Shaftesbury wrote one of the most intellectually influential works in English of the eighteenth century, The Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times. Shaftesbury argued that human nature responds most fully to representations of the good, the true, and the beautiful, and that human beings naturally desire society.
Frederick Douglass sketches the stages on his road to literacy in the early chapters of his autobiography, Life and Times (1893). As a young slave, Frederick Douglass struggled with his place in the world.
This quote from Confucius (551-479 BCE) provides his advice about speaking and acting:
The Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723–1790) was the author of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Near the end of chapter 2 of Section 2 of Part VI of Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith writes:
Perhaps more than any great thinker, Edmund Burke is associated with history— especially the traditions and institutions it hands down. But he also recognized the value of history as a teacher by example:
Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) was a political philosopher who was known both for his general theorizing and for his interpretations of other thinkers, especially Thomas Hobbes. The quotation below comes from a book of essays on Hobbes (Hobbes on Civil Association) first published in 1975 and again by Liberty Fund Inc. in 2000.
In the lines of this quotation, Thomas Jefferson touches on certain core ideas about what the best life for the individual is, and what the moral order of nature demands ethically. It was these aspects of his thinking that never allowed him to make peace with the institution of slavery.
Thoughts and Details on Scarcity represents Burke’s most developed commentary on economics and the role of the state in the economic realm. His broad agreement with Adam Smith on such matters has often been noted, including by Burke himself. Written as a response to a proposal for wage subsidies for agricultural workers, Thoughts and Details prompted Burke to consider the broader problems that arise when the state ceases to be content with broadly managing the “truly and properly public” affairs of the nation, and inserts itself into the mundane and daily lives of the people.