Monday 29 April 2002

Gordon Brown was in town last week to take part in Edinburgh University’s Enlightenment lecture series. Brown attempted to claim Adam Smith as a man of the left and was opposed by Irwin Stelzer of the Sunday Times. It was truly a gathering of Scotland’s great and the good. Apparently, Gordon Brown read The Wealth of Nations while preparing the budget!

One of several post lecture observations was from Jimmy Reid, a regular Scotsman columnist.

Note this:

“He (Smith) maintained that labour is the source of all wealth. Does this mean that the labourer should enjoy the full fruits of his labour? Dammit! The man must have been a closet Marxist.”

But Murray Rothbard in the first volume of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought tells us that “Smith’s doctrine on value was an unmitigated disaster” and further described it as a “colossal blunder.” The twentieth century Austrian School of economists from Mises to Rothbard himself has satisfactorily demolished the labour theory of value. Unfortunately, the British left, from Reid to Brown, has not yet learned that lesson.

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