Greetings all, ‘Tis I, the long and lost Corman. Where have I been?–Well, right here in “G-town” contemplating the world. So much thinking, so little writing; I am suffering from writer’s block. As of late, every time I sit down at the keyboard with a mind full of topics, the words stop at my fingertips. The art of organizing my thoughts, structuring the arguments, and writing coherently has been fleeting. So I figured that perhaps the best “cure” is to just let my fingers to the walking and let the randomness prevail.
This will come as no surprise to anyone who has spent much time with me…I am usually a bit random in my brain function. The good news is that I am (historically anyway) in good company—Adam Smith was said to be a bit “off kilter”; but still seemed to develop ideas that have been interpreted and implemented for the good (and the bad) of society’s wellbeing. One thing we always focus on in this blog is “Balance”. Mr. Smith understood this concept but didn’t always speak of it explicitly—hence the vast misunderstanding of much of his message.
Funny thing about Smith, he was not an “economist” per se…but a moral philosopher. He was intrigued by how communities, regions, and countries organized resources and created wealth and wellbeing. His most famous work, “Wealth of Nations” was not written as a prescription for economic structure but rather its intended purpose is clear in the full title of the work: “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. It is a work of observation and study.
What many do not realize is that “Wealth of Nations” was not his only work of fame. Earlier in his work, he published “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” in which he explored the relationships existing between our customs, traditions, and moral beliefs and the realm of provisioning, trading, and allocating. Basically, this is a text exploring the roles of moral virtue and political philosophies on societal organization systems. I like to think of this book as “this is what we should be doing” and his second book as “this is what we are doing”. It is ironic to think that his most famous work is the “what we are doing” when it is the former that we really need to focus on.
“Moral Sentiments” is a study of propriety, not property. “Wealth” is the study of property, not propriety. If I could go back in time and visit with him over a beer (or two), I would suggest that he shorten the ramblings in both works and condense it into a single volume that considered the criticality of both propriety and property—striking a balance between the two. People say that social justice does not belong in “business” or monetary matters, I say that long run stability of business and the economy cannot exist without social justice. If you read Smith (and not just the parts that fit your purpose), you will see that he would agree with me.