Thursday, November 18, 2010

Adam Smith through the localist lens

I can't help it. I came across a familiar passage by Adam Smith from The Wealth of Nations today, which I know all too well is a book about mercantalism. Yet, to me, he's speaking directly about its final boss battle form of localism:

By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
As I've said before, local purchasing preferences is a form of neo-mercantalism. It's the same old protectionist fallacy, and its weakness is still the arguments Smith made.

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