Zakaj je Adam Smith bolj kot regulacijo države “sovražil” menedžerje in lastnike kapitala?

Večina ljudi, sploh pa celotna falanga libertarcev, ki prisega na Adama Smitha, zelo selektivno izbira njegova stališča ali pa jih jemlje iz konteksta. Prisegajo na njegovo zavzemanje za osebno svobodo (kar je seveda logično glede na tedanji fevdalizem in nemožnost proste izbire kraja bivanja), na njegovo rohnenje proti državni hiper regulaciji (kar je spet logično glede na tedanjo cehovsko ureditev), govorijo o “nevidni roki” trga (ki jo Smith sicer le bežno omenja) in vlogi države zgolj kot “nočnega čuvaja“.

Pri tem pa povsem zanemarijo, da je Smith stal na stališču (tako kot kasneje Ricardo in Marx), da delo ustvarja presežno vrednost in ne kapital (teorija delovne vrednosti). Da se je (tako kot za njim Ricardo) zavzemal za to, da se plače oblikujejo na podlagi družbenih norm, torej na podlagi tega, koliko je potrebno za zagotovitev spodobnega življenjskega standarda v nekem okolju (ne pa denimo v skladu z imaginarnim konceptom mejne produktivnosti). Da se je zavzemal za zmanjšanje neenakosti, da je rohnel proti moči lastnikov kapitala, njihovemu izkrivljanju konkurence in koncentraciji premoženja in politične moči v rokah bogatih. In da se je, kjer mehanizem trga ni uspel zajeziti egoizma posameznikov, zavzemal za regulacijo konkurence, za regulacijo višine obrestnih mer itd.

Adam Smith je bil kompleten politični ekonomist, zavedajoč se potrebnosti zagotovitve družbenega ravnovesja med politično svobodnimi posamezniki in reguliranimi podjetniki in lastniki kapitala.

Branko Milanović je naredil jagodni izbor “zagrenjenih” stališč Adama Smitha iz voluminozne knjige “Bogastvo narodov” kot kritike tedanjega merkantilističnega tipa kapitalizma. In v teh “zagrenjenih” Smithovih stališčih lahko razberete, kako zelo je črtil koncentracijo premoženja in moči v rokah bogatašev in kako zelo se je zavedal, da posameznik, ki se interesom teh centrov moči zoperstavi, nima prav nobenega upanja na zmago.

The government comes, of course, for special criticism: its rapacity in putting high tariffs, its foolishness in following mercantilist policies, its pettiness in constraining the system of “natural liberty”, its attempts to decide where people should live (the law of settlement, a hukou-like system was then in existence in Britain), its myriad rules and vexations are dissected with righteous anger.

Next to it in terms of “badness” is aristocracy: ”Entails are thought necessary for maintaining this exclusive privilege of the nobility to the great offices and honours of their country; and that order having usurped one unjust advantage over the rest of their fellow-citizens, lest their poverty should render it ridiculous, it is thought reasonable that they should have another” (Book 3; Ch. 2, p. 491).

But businessmen are no better. As soon as they are given half a chance, perhaps just after having gotten rid of some particularly nefarious government regulation, they are back to plotting how to “restrain” the market, to pay suppliers less, destroy competitors, cheat workers (see today’s IT companies, Walmart, Amazon). In the famous quote, “people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices” (Book 1, Ch. 8).

In their mad ambition, they try to rule the world (see Davos): “…the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind” (Book 4, Ch. 3, p. 621). Short of the world they try to rule countries: companies of merchants (the British and the Dutch East India Companies) grew immensely rich by mismanaging and exploiting India and Indonesia: “The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever” (Book 4, Ch. 7, p. 722).

And their profits are often a price for general impoverishment: “Have the exorbitant profits of the merchants of Cadiz and Lisbon augmented the capital of Spain and Portugal? Have they alleviated the poverty, have they promoted the industry of those two beggarly countries?” (Book 4, Ch. 7, p. 779).

Businessmen depend on lobbyists and politicians. Those who support them (read K Street and Mass Avenue in Washington DC) will be praised: “The Member of Parliament who supports every proposal for strengthening this monopoly is sure to acquire not only the reputation of understanding trade, but great popularity and influence with an order of men whose numbers and wealth render them of great importance” (Book 4, Ch.2, p. 595).

Those who try to oppose their drive for monopoly profits will be destroyed:

“If he opposes them, on the contrary, and still more if he has authority enough to be able to thwart them, neither the most acknowledged probity, nor the highest rank, nor the greatest public services can protect him from the most infamous abuse and detraction, from personal insults, nor sometimes from real danger, arising from the insolent outrage of furious and disappointed monopolists. (Book 4, Ch. 2, p. 592).

Vir: Branko Milanovic

2 responses

  1. Odlično. Upam, da bodo brali tudi naši neoliberalci.

    Gre še za en zanimiv termin. In sicer: “The Beast”. Klasični liberalci so s tem označevali tedanji monarhični aristokratski red, ne pa demokratične države. Današnji neoliberalci na zahodu (in tistih nekaj malo pri nas, ki so sploh kaj prebrali) s tem označuje vse kar je državnega. The Beast je potrebno seveda uničiti, nevtralizirati.

    Pri tem pa se ne zavedamo, da je država edina možnost, ki jo ima navadni človek proti centrom moči. Da je stvar še bolj zanimiva, je država edina možnost, ki jo ima kapitalizem, da preživi.

    • Marko!
      Problem je, ker je to težko razložiti tako desnici, kot levici. Tako kot praviš: Močna država je edina možnost proti centrom moči. Vsi vemo, da jo neoliberalna desnica želi odpraviti, kaj pa levica? Takoj ko se je pojavila migrantska kriza so nastopili z gesli “proti državi”, z gesli o svetu “brez mej”… Vedno znova nam govorijo o internacionalnih rešitvah (Varufakis…), čeprav je zgodovina zelo jasna. Največji porast pravic srednjemu in nižjemu razredu se je zgodil v obdobju močnih in trdnih nacionalnih držav (1945-1975)… Z uničenjem le teh se je začela destrukcija srednjega razreda.
      Globalna elita ni neumna: Če želiš vladati uniči moč nacionalne države. In pomoč dobijo iz desne (neoliberalni pridigarji) in nato še z leve (“svet brez mej”).

      In zakaj se čudimo, če dobi Marine Le Pen največ glasov od delavcev? Tistih, ki so včasih volili za komuniste? 😉

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