Sunday 18 May 2008

Responding to Alex

Alex Massie has picked up on the sale of Adam Smith's house:
They chose the £800,000 bid over a higher offer, on the grounds that the University would make the building more accessible to the public. The University plans to restore the house to promote the study of economics. Hmmm. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to sell to the highest bidder?
In one of the comments Gavin Kennedy writes:
The difference in the bid was £150,000, a rather small amount which will be more than covered quickly by the commercial operations of Adam Smith's former home (1788-90) in pursuit of academic excellence in economics.

This is also a public benefit, which was lauded by Adam Smith.

I'd like to enlarge on that observation with a nod in the direction of the Austrian School of Economics.

Values are subjective. We each have our own unique scale of values and if that weren't so no trade would be possible at all. Let's imagine that I'm in the market for a property. I might be happy to pay £250,000 for a flat in central Edinburgh but another person might well prefer to spend the same amount of money on a sizeable house in rural Fife. And I might be willing to spend a bit extra on a place in Edinburgh simply because it had once been owned by Adam Smith! Others wouldn't. Values aren't limited to monetary considerations.

So I would argue that the City Council hasn't necessarily sold the Smith abode to a low bidder. It all depends on the Council's scale of values and those values can include a keenness for a particular future use of the property. From its point of view the Council has sold to the highest bidder. For once, in this case the Council's scale of values is not unlike mine!

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Come come, Higham. 
You would object forcefully if it was an enemy of freedom taking that line. You would rightly quote the WHOLE sentence, which starts: 
" For once, in this case ..."

5 June 2008, 09:55:52 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

the Council's scale of values is not unlike mine 
You'll be quoted on that till the day of death.

22 May 2008, 18:42:07 GMT+01:00