While Dresser doesn't mention it, 1776 was important because of another event, the founding of the Illuminati in Bavaria by Jesuit Priest Adam Weishaupt. Here was a movement surely inspired by the Prince of Darkness which was balanced by two great moves inspired by the Christian point of view.
It is strange how these coincidences seem to take place in history. In 1848, Karl Marx was hired to write the Communist Manifesto, really a codification of Illuminati principles, even though he was just a hack writer whose name didn't even appear as the author for 20 years.
Another movement inspired by the forces of evil. Just two years later, Fredrich Bastiat wrote "The Law," one of the finest, most concise expressions of the "laws" of liberty and freedom which has ever appeared.
It seems to me that when the Devil makes a move, the Lord checkmates him!
It is interesting to note that the first real book on economics in the western world was published in 1776, the year that the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. This coincidence is significant for two reasons.
First, the ideas in that book and the ideas behind the American Revolution had a lot in common. The book, of course, was Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. It expounded the conviction that enlightened self interest was the key to a successful economy. If men are left to pursue their own self interests, they will freely cooperate with each other, guided by the "invisible Hand" of the market place. The result will be to maximize both human freedom and material prosperity. The American Revolution was also about human freedom. It was led by men who wanted to be left alone by the ministry of King George III. The leaders of that revolution were mostly wealthy planters and merchants who chafed at government interference with their "Pursuit of happiness" through the market place.
The other significant thing is that The Wealth of Nations was the very first book on economics! Think of that - the first book exclusively devoted to the principles underlying the production of material wealth was not written until 1776! One and three quarters of a millennium had passed since the beginning of the Common Era in 1 A.D. without anybody writing a book on economics!
This is because for centuries there were few people literate enough to write a book, and most of those few were either clerics interested in religious topics or members of the leisure class who thought trade and concern with making money was beneath their dignity.
So economics is a relatively new field of study. Adam Smith was among the very first of men to try to make it into an independent science. But is economics really a science at all?
One of the hallmarks of a true science is that there is general agreement as to what its first principles are. We cannot say this about economics. There are just too many different schools of thought among economists. Another hallmark of a true science is its
ability to predict. An astronomer can tell you when the sun will set on a Thursday evening six months from now and every other astronomer in the world will agree with him and the prediction will prove right. Economists notoriously do not agree among themselves as to their predictions and most of them prove wrong. The best they can do is try to hedge their bets by pointing out what could happen "on the other hand." President Harry S. Truman got so tired of such timid predictions from his own economics advisors that he once remarked in exasperation that he would do anything to find "a one handed
So what can economists agree to teach the general public about economics? Even if economics is not a true science, are there still some economic truisms? Can these truisms be conveyed to ordinary people in language simple enough for them to be truly understood? Or is economics a field of study so complex, so uncertain, so confusing, that most of us are doomed to remain economic dummies? That's what I'd like to know.
© 2003 - Michel Dresser - All Rights Reserved
Michel came to Fairbanks, Alaska in January 1983 for a short visit, fell in love with the Interior and never left. A pioneer in the development of talk radio in Fairbanks, Michael began his journey in radio on a Saturday night at 10:00, reading from a script. He threw away the script after the first half hour and the rest is history. Michael's show has evolved over the years into an open educational and informational forum featuring daily guests from all over the country. Michael's unique view of the world and his knowledge, experience, and interests present many opportunities to appear as a guest on radio shows across the entire country, on a host of different topics.