Karl Marx or Adam Smith

“The existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery.”
– Karl Marx

‘A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.'
- Adam Smith

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
― Karl Marx

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."
– Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter I, Part II On the Expence of Justice

“Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another.”
― Karl Marx

‘What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.’
- Wealth of Nations

"All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons."
- Wealth of Nation, Adam Smith

" It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."
- Wealth of Nations

"The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public."
- Wealth of Nations

" People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."
- Wealth of Nations

‘The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.’
- Adam Smith

"Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labour of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single night in security."
- Wealth of Nation; V.ii.2

“The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
– Adam Smith, Book V, Chapter II, Article I: Taxes upon the Rent of House

‘It must always be remembered, however, that it is the luxuries and not the necessary expense of the inferior ranks of people, that ought ever to be taxed.’
- Adam Smith

"A heavy or progressive or graduated income tax is necessary for the proper development of Communism."
- Karl Marx

‘The subjects of every state ought to contribute toward the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state ….As Henry Home (Lord Kames) has written, a goal of taxation should be to ‘remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.'‘
- Adam Smtih

‘The problem with fiat money is that it rewards the minority that can handle money, but fools the generation that has worked and saved money.’
- Adam Smith

“Money is the universal, self-constituted value of all things. Hence it has robbed the whole world of its proper value.”
- Karl Marx

‘All money is a matter of belief.’
- Adam Smith

‘Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.’
- Adam Smith

“You must be aware that the reward for labour, and quantity of labour, are quite disparate things.”
― Karl Marx

‘The property which every man has in his own labour, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable.’
- Adam Smith

"Since labor is the source of all wealth, no one in society can appropriate wealth except as the product of labor."
- Karl Marx

"The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly understocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments, whether they consist in wages or profit, greatly above their natural rate."
- Adam Smith

“Monopoly is the inevitable end of competition, which engenders it by a continual negation of itself."
- Karl Marx

‘In raising the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates in the same manner as simple interest does in the accumulation of debt. Our merchants and master manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and thereby lessening the sale of their goods, both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits; they are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.’
-Adam Smith

‘The rate of profit… is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin.’
- Adam Smith

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QMS's picture

is due. Thanks for posting them!

“The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

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Smith did not dream up capitalism, nor did anybody else -- it grew out of industrialization without any altruistic rationale; just people taking advantage of new means of social interaction. It only became an ism as characters stepped forward with special pleading for the modern iteration of Robber Barons--medieval personalities who practiced the art of the shakedown, forcing a toll on people going about useful activity.

Smith was a descritive writer in contrast to Marx's and other critiques of Robbery who offered prescriptive remedies for it. As such they are isms -- attempts to create a different social order. Latter day hacks hoked up what is called capitalism, leaving Smith's candor in the dust. The iconography of "free" markets offers career paths to hordes of "scholars" who thereby get a piece of the action from the primary Robbers, celebrating their "freedom" to rob all the rest of us.

IS this a great civilization or what?

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire ‘A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.'- Adam Smith
I realized that I had the makings of an essay. I mean, that's pretty darn clever, isn't it?
Then I found quotes by Smith that looked a whole bunch like Marx's theory of labor value.

Instead of me going into long prose about how these two great economists sounded much like one another, instead of just put this into reddit with the title Smith or Marx? and the attributes removed.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@fire with fire

Smith did not dream up capitalism, nor did anybody else -- it grew out of industrialization

Capitalism was created about two centuries before industrialization. Capitalism was a product of developments such as the 15th-century creation of exploitative "colonies" in places like Madeira, and of the 16th-century enclosures of the commons in Great Britain.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

@Cassiodorus Marx defined capitalism:

Capitalism: A socio-economic system based especially on private ownership of the means of production and the exploitation of the labor force

I'm sure one can find an infinity of antecedents to both "private ownership pf the means of production" and "exploitation of the labor force." But the above quotes from Smith and Marx are rooted in the industrial era. Are you sugesting that I have overlooked any historical voices that prescribed either concept in advance of their implementations, regardless of which century? If so, please educate me.

My point was to discredit the now common notion that capitalism is a boon to the general population. I labeled that idea as special pleading for the ancient art of the shakedowm: Give me my slice because I "own" this corner of the world and therefore I get to take whatever I want from the take. You can call it "profit" or "tribute" or "skim" but the bottom line is "private ownership." which the quotes roundly condemn as bullshit.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Cassiodorus's picture

@fire with fire p. 878: "The prelude to the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalist mode of production was played out in the last third of the fifteenth century and the first few decades of the sixteenth."

p. 884: "The 'glorious Revolution' brought into power, along with William of Orange, the landed and capitalist profit-grabbers."

Citations from the Penguin edition of Capital, volume 1

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

@Cassiodorus
that I'm hanging out with people who directly quote from Das Kapital.
It tells me that I can learn something here.

There are so many places both on the internet and IRL where no brain power is required.

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usefewersyllables's picture

@gjohnsit

There are a whole load of folks here who are very well educated on a variety of topics, and not just by having a bookshelf full of Cliff's Notes. I learn something new every time I read here...

Thanks again to the organizers for making this place happen, and keeping it alive!

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

@Cassiodorus but I cannot fathom what the point of this erudition is. Yeah, in that really long work by Marx, my amateur history of capitalism is debunked, utterly irrelevant to my assertion that there is no foundational text prescribing the policies that we call capitalism before its inception. You cannot argue that Marx invented BOTH Capitalism and revolutionary socialism in the same magnum opus-- but you have successfully run me off this thread with your superior knowledge of things Marxian.

Nevertheless, error is error and I stand guilty as charged of making an error. I flee the scene of my folly with no excuse.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@Cassiodorus on further review:

"The prelude to the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalist mode of production was played out in the last third of the fifteenth century and the first few decades of the sixteenth."

How does this contradict or even undermine my concession that one could find an infinity of antecedents to capitalism?

So what is you point?

Sorry about the passive aggressive snark I posted at the time you were getting applause for quoting directly from Marx. I thought you were willfully ignoring the actual words I posted. The passage of time has not changed my mind.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

What is disheartening to me is that Marx and Smith spelled it out for us, and the wealthy used it against us. Pikkety wrote 'Inequality is neither economic nor technological; it is ideological and political.' and I don't see any way out of it.

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These quotes really go to the heart of economic justice. Part of the problem is that we are born into an economic/political system and we accept it as The Reality. If we step back and look at it objectively we would ask ourselves why the population at large would ever sign up to system that steals their labor and social assets to give them to the relatively small class of the wealthy and the war bullies? The excuse is that making a few outrageously wealthy people and that fighting wars because of imagined wrongs to out society makes us all better????

It is definitely possible to grow a prosperous economy through mechanisms that allocate a social asset - capital, to needed and useful projects, without creating a class of oligarchs. It's also possible to design a life path that creates the skills necessary to run a technological society through education as a human right, along with housing, employment and health care. Many of hurdles that the average person born into this society have to go through to create a decent life and raise a family are ridiculously difficult, superfluous to the solution, and are essentially classism. Obtaining education and skills should be our main effort, and that should be designed to be the normal path for all lives.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

Cassiodorus's picture

is that Marx called his gig a "critique of political economy." Political economy was supposed to show that "equal" exchanges would result in a prosperous world in which industriousness was duly rewarded. Marx showed that the "equal" exchanges were by no means equal, and that the industriousness of the working class merely resulted in the owning class's reward. That was his critique of Smith, Ricardo, and others.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead