Adam Smith is usually smarter than you think

In passing, Jacob T. Levy effectively scores the point and fills us in:

Adam Smith, generally thought of as the first systematic analyst of the market economy, was in my view the first major analyst of the modern state who saw it more or less completely: its permanent system of taxation and debt, its permanent expenditures on public works, its standing army, its bureaucratic structure, its colonial and imperial ventures, its complicated relationship with economic growth and prosperity, and in general the inevitability of a system of “police” or policy. This is not wholly distinct from his work as an analyst of the market; standing armies and professional bureaucracies are aspects of the division of labor, and the wealth of nations is a key determinant of their ability to fulfill their state projects. But it is partly distinct.


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