segunda-feira, 5 de junho de 2006

Adam Smith em entrevista

Através do Véu da Ignorância descobri que Adam Smith não apenas está vivo como até deu recentemente uma entrevista à Prospect Magazine. Vale a pena ler.
  • «Dean (...) You wrote two distinguished books: the Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations. But why only two? Why did you never publish your theory of jurisprudence?
  • Adam Smith (...) In my Moral Sentiments I wrote that the rich are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it to advance the interest of the society. Now, some have held this “invisible hand” to be the epicentre of my system, when ‘twas but a passing remark. I expected my readers to understand it as a reference to such Satire as Mr Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees. But some of my readers, it seems, are more solemn than I.
  • Dean But what about the Theory of Jurisprudence?
  • Adam Smith There I confess to some caution. You recall that in the year 1776, there was a revolt among our American Colonists; which, being mishandled, led to their departure from the Empire. Shortly afterwards followed the events in France, that were proceeding as I rewrote my Moral Sentiments in 1790. (...) Should I be associated with these principles, I might suffer as did my friend Mr Dugald Stewart. (...) They misread my Wealth of Nations, failed to read my Moral Sentiments, and knew nothing of my Jurisprudence. My Jurisprudence sought to establish the first principles of government.
  • My private Opinions were of a more radical cast than those I suffer’d to be publish’d—in matters of religion and of the colonists of America. So I instructed Dr Black and Dr Hutton that my Lectures on Jurisprudence were to be burnt on my demise. (...)
  • Bad government is, as I said in my book, a conspiracy of shopkeepers against their customers. I should be loath to relieve the debts of bad governments, lest they incur more, unless we could bind them with promises of amendment. And as to the debts of private parties, it is not for the Magistrate to meddle. The rules of prudence caution each (as Mr Hume said) to suppose that each other is a knave in his private business.»

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