Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Political Thought: Smith, the Federalists, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Bentham and Mill

The most important work Adam Smith did was the Wealth of Nations. This book is considered as the fundamental work in classical economics. It totally argues that free market economies are more productive and beneficial to their societies. It consists of five books which their titles respectively are: Of the Causes of Improvement, of the Nature, Accumulation and Employment of Stock, of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations, of Systems of political Economy and of the Revenue of the Sovereign or 


Division of labor is the primary thing that Smith has an emphasis on in the first book. He believes that the division of labor has caused a greater increase in production in comparison with any other factor. This has helped the nations which have more industry. He believes that the division of labor does not come from innate wisdom of the people but it come from the human tendency to exchange goods and services and he thinks that this difference in natural talents between people is a result of specialization not any natural or innate cause. He then talks about the origin and use of money and the real and nominal price of commodities or their price in labor, and their price in money. Smith argues that the price of any product reflects wages, rent of land and "...profit of stock," which compensates the capitalist for risking his resources. He also who determines value by the utility that a commodity provides a person rather than cost of production.
He states that when demand exceeds supply, the price goes up and when the supply exceeds demand, the price goes down. He then argues that in societies where the amount of labor exceeds the amount of revenue available for waged labor, competition among workers is greater than the competition among employers, and wages fall. Inversely, where revenue is abundant, labor wages rise. Smith argues that, therefore, labor wages only rise as a result of greater revenue disposed to pay for labor.

The Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were the likely authors of the Federalist Papers. According to Federalist 1: "It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force" (Hamilton, Jay, Madison 1982), the Federalist Papers is all about the Constitution which connects people to the government.
There are many highlights among the essays of The Federalist. Federalist No. 10, in which Madison discusses the means of preventing rule by majority faction and advocates a large, commercial republic, is generally regarded as the most important of the 85 articles from a philosophical perspective; it is complemented by Federalist No. 14, in which Madison takes the measure of the United States, declares it appropriate for an extended republic, and concludes with a memorable defense of the constitutional and political creativity of the Federal Convention. In Federalist No. 84, Hamilton makes the case that there is no need to amend the Constitution by adding a Bill of Rights, insisting that the various provisions in the proposed Constitution protecting liberty amount to a bill of rights. Federalist No. 78, also written by Hamilton, lays the groundwork for the doctrine of judicial review by federal courts of federal legislation or executive acts. Federalist No. 70 presents Hamilton's case for a one-man chief executive. In Federalist No. 39, Madison presents the clearest exposition of what has come to be called "Federalism". In Federalist No. 51, Madison distills arguments for checks and balances in a memorable essay often quoted for its justification of government as "the greatest of all reflections on human nature."

Edmund Burke

He was among the scholars and philosophers who opposed the French Revolution. It seems that at first he 
did not oppose the Revolution but after some incidents he changed his mind and he calls it a world of Monsters. Among his ideas we can find these: he strongly defended constitutional limitation of the Crown's authority, opposed the religious persecution of Catholics in his native Ireland, voiced the grievances of Britain's American colonies, supported American Independence, and vigorously pursued impeachment of Warren Hastings, the Governor-General of British India, for corruption and abuse of power.
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