Re: [OPE-L] Hegel's and Smith's historical materialism?

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Sun Oct 09 2005 - 04:58:30 EDT

Those two paragraphs actually confirm my position. If
you look at the bottom of the paragraph 4, just a page
before the last two paragraphs, Smith writes:
"Had human institutions, therefore, never disturbed
the natural course of things, the progressive wealth
and increase of the towns would, in every political
society, be consequential, and in proportion to the
improvement and cultivation of the territory and
The last paragraph is just a lamentation that human
agency in most of the Western countries have
interfered with the natural order given that the
merchants and the manufacturers have been closer to
the political power. Actually, on my reading, Adam
Smith is highly physiocratic both in theory as well as
in basic attitude towards agriculture. It is a few
centuries of British writings on Smith that has
laboriously tried to suppress this aspect of Smith to
claim some sort of originality for the British. I'm
not interested in the controversy whether Smith had
developed his ideas before he came in contact with the
Physiocrates--he might have developed the idea of the
virtue of free trade on his own, but the fact remains
that his thinking in the Wealth of Nations is highly
physiocratic. Cheers, ajit sinha

--- Christopher Arthur <arthurcj@WAITROSE.COM> wrote:

> Andy and Ajit
> I was thinking of the last 2 paras of WN Bk III ch
> 1.
> Chris
> >Chris,
> >
> >You seem to be saying that Smith was both
> materialist and historical but
> >admitted he had the wrong history. Probably
> requires a bit of
> >elaboration.
> >
> >I'd suggest Smith and classical political economy
> were certainly
> >materialist (they had classes based on production,
> they introduce the
> >LTV) but not really historical because capitalist
> classes are taken as
> >natural and 'history' merely a set of aberrations
> prior to the natural
> >(capitalist) order.
> >
> >Simon Clarke (Marx, Marginalism and Modern
> Sociology) is interesting on
> >this (and on Hegel and on parallels between Hegel
> and CPE from Marx's
> >perspective)
> >
> >Andy
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Christopher
> >Arthur
> >Sent: 06 October 2005 21:41
> >Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Hegel's and Smith's historical
> materialism?
> >
> >>Am I off-track here?  Did Smith have a historical
> materialist
> >>perspective?  Did Hegel?
> >>
> >>In solidarity, Jerry
> >
> >No.
> >Smith gives a theory of history going from
> agriculture to the twons to
> >foreign trade and then ruefully admits the real
> development was exactly
> >the
> >opposite!
> >For a study of Hegel's early work see my chapter on
> him in my book 'The
> >New
> >Dialectic and Marx's Capital' It is true he gives
> more importancce to
> >labour in the early work but it is still in the
> interests of the spirit.
> >Chris
> >
> >17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England
> 17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England

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