Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Adam Smith

Levy's class has an extensive reading list which includes Adam Smith among others. I am way behind in the readings (the class is finishing with the third book, while I am still at the first). How can you read Adam Smith for a whole day, or read the Theory of Moral Sentiments in two weeks? I do not know how the rest of the class does it, I find my mind restless beyond 20 pages. Its too much information and my mind needs to process it and rest before I can continue; am still putting up a brave fight to keep up with the class. This is the first time in my life I am having trouble setting and routine and following it. All Thanks to Adam Smith and Menger who do not let my mind rest so I can sink into blissful sleep. Reading TMS I can see concepts such as Utility and Preference and Diminishing Marginal Utility jump out at me although they are not given such nomenclature. It is very interesting to see Smith's extensive observation and understanding of Human Psychology. Smith is often misquoted as promoting individuals to be selfish; however, it will be clear to anyone who reads the first 40 pages of TMS that he categorises selfishness between the social and unsocial passions and does not say that an individual needs to be selfish. He makes no such normative claim (to the best of my knowledge). The invisible hand works through self-interest and not selfishness. That said, in my own self-interest I need to get back to reading.

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