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Thread: Adam Smith

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    Default Adam Smith

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Smith

    Contemporary accounts describe Smith as an eccentric but benevolent intellectual, comically absent minded, with peculiar habits of speech and gait and a smile of "inexpressible benignity". He was known to talk to himself, and had occasional spells of imaginary illness.

    Smith is often described as a prototypical absent-minded professor. He is reported to have had books and papers stacked up in his study, with a habit he developed during childhood of speaking to himself and smiling in rapt conversation with invisible companions.

    Various anecdotes have discussed his absentminded nature. In one story, Smith reportedly took the Honorable Charles Townshend on a tour of a tanning factoring and while discussing free trade, Smith walked into a huge tanning pit from which he had to be removed. Another episode records that he put bread and butter into a teapot, drank the concoction, and declared it to be the worst cup of tea he ever had. In another example, Smith went out walking and daydreaming in his nightgown and ended up 15 miles (24 km) outside town before nearby church bells brought him back to reality.
    “The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.”

    “All money is a matter of belief.”

    “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

    “It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country”

    “I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

    “It (Oxford) is a sanctuary in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices find shelter and protection after they have been hunted out of every corner of the world.”

    “The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is ... that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.”

    “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.”

    “Every individual...generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

    “Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this - no dog exchanges bones with another.”

    “The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation.”

    “Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse.”

    “What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”

    “Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”

    “The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

    “The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.”

    “Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.”

    “The mind is so rarely disturbed, but that the company of friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.”

    “Such is the delicacy of man alone, that no object is produced to his liking. He finds that in everything there is need for improvement.... The whole industry of human life is employed not in procuring the supply of our three humble necessities, food, clothes and lodging, but in procuring the conveniences of it according to the nicety and delicacy of our tastes.”

    “As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.”

    “Labour was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.”

    “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.”

    “The machines that are first invented to perform any particular movement are always the most complex, and succeeding artists generally discover that, with fewer wheels, with fewer principles of motion, than had originally been employed, the same effects may be more easily produced. The first systems, in the same manner, are always the most complex.”
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    Having done a quick search it seems that some people here have suggested that he's Alpha NT, but based on his quotes (these and others I've read) and theories, I think he's LIE. Te + Ni > Ti + Ne.
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    Others have suggested something other than ILE?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Having done a quick search it seems that some people here have suggested that he's Alpha NT, but based on his quotes (these and others I've read) and theories, I think he's LIE. Te + Ni > Ti + Ne.
    But it is impossible for a LIE to be absent minded. A LIE can never exhibit the traits that are attributed to Smith, so he can't be a LIE. He must be a leading intuitive type.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Logos View Post
    Others have suggested something other than ILE?
    Someone had mentioned LII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    But it is impossible for a LIE to be absent minded.
    Guess I'm not LIE then.

    A LIE can never exhibit the traits that are attributed to Smith, so he can't be a LIE. He must be a leading intuitive type.
    I'm sure some of those accounts are exaggerated... and I think most intuitive types are absent minded to some extent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    But it is impossible for a LIE to be absent minded. A LIE can never exhibit the traits that are attributed to Smith, so he can't be a LIE. He must be a leading intuitive type.
    And you naturally think ILI, right?
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    I think Gamma NT is clear. Not sure that there is a strong case for LIE or ILI.

    As an aside, I've seen his tomb in Edinburgh a few times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Guess I'm not LIE then.
    Guess you are not absent minded then.

    I'm sure some of those accounts are exaggerated... and I think most intuitive types are absent minded to some extent.
    Not ENTjs. They are never absent minded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Logos View Post
    And you naturally think ILI, right?
    If Adam Smith is Gamma, as Expat and others believe, then he is necessarily an ILI.

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    Perhaps the issue is how we're each defining "absent minded". (If I miss my exit because I was thinking about something else, that's what I would call absent minded.)
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    Not much is known about Smith's personal views beyond what can be deduced from his published works. His personal papers were destroyed after his death.[40] He never married[41] and seems to have maintained a close relationship with his mother, with whom he lived after his return from France and who died six years before his own death.[42]

    Contemporary accounts describe Smith as an eccentric but benevolent intellectual, comically absent minded, with peculiar habits of speech and gait and a smile of "inexpressible benignity".[43] He was known to talk to himself, and had occasional spells of imaginary illness.[38]
    Smith is often described as a prototypical absent-minded professor.[44] He is reported to have had books and papers stacked up in his study, with a habit he developed during childhood of speaking to himself and smiling in rapt conversation with invisible companions.[44]
    Various anecdotes have discussed his absentminded nature. In one story, Smith reportedly took the Honorable Charles Townshend on a tour of a tanning factoring and while discussing free trade, Smith walked into a huge tanning pit from which he had to be removed.[45] Another episode records that he put bread and butter into a teapot, drank the concoction, and declared it to be the worst cup of tea he ever had. In another example, Smith went out walking and daydreaming in his nightgown and ended up 15 miles (24 km) outside town before nearby church bells brought him back to reality.[44][45]
    Smith is reported to have been an odd-looking fellow. One author stated that Smith "had a large nose, bulging eyes, a protruding lower lip, a nervous twitch, and a speech impediment."[46] Smith is reported to have acknowledged his looks at one point saying "I am a beau in nothing but my books."[46]
    Wikipedia bit on his character.
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    This?
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    I read the first 10 chapters of Wealth of Nations for a history of economic thought class. He was suprisingly easy to read. He seemed to be sincerely concerned about the welfare of the working class. And he seemed to be able to separate his view on how society should be from how it actually is, and effectively write about the latter. His political views seemed to be pragmatic rather than dogmatic (compared to some of the people that cite him today), which I like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    I knew that looked familiar.

    Being described as an "absent minded professor" type makes it easy to see why people would describe him as an ILE, which is the type most closely associated with this archetype.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifmd95 View Post
    I know of little to point to Fe POLR or Se HA.
    Neither do I.
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    Seems TJ. Could be either LII or LIE.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifmd95 View Post
    I know of little to point to Fe POLR or Se HA.
    That he doesn't have a Se PoLR seems apparent to me in his quotes about poor people, but I don't think we have enough information about him to explore his weaker functions. We should be looking at his ego block primarily.
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    LIE. Reminds me a lot of Rick's excellent synopsis of the type as a "trader". Also the attention to debt is very meaningful. LIIs hate money because it can be wielded against them like a cudgel.

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    Se dominance and Se PoLR's are the two functions that most stand out to me, most of the time (both here and irl).
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    LIE. I ordered the Wealth of Nations recently, and I'll read it soon.

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    has anyone read Moral Sentiments?

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    Smith's self-interest principle always struck me as particularly Te, being expressed in a Ni context. "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." The way he states his principles: this is how it is, has the brusque 'reflecting reality unflinchingly' quality I associate with Te. It is framed as an accurate, factual statement. Yet it is provided in a Ni environment: he's in one line penetrating the chaos of humanity by crystalising it into a vast web of momentary interactions that are purposeful. And that purpose is self-interest.

    I would struggle to see the pin-factory example as anything but Te. My own reaction to the division of labour principle is that it basically just makes sense and is efficient. The way Smith conceptualises the fragmented production process as nonetheless part of the whole seems like a Ni ability to zoom out, for the purpose of achieving a Te outcome.

    In Meghnad Desai’s book ‘Marx’s Revenge’, in the second chapter titled “Adam Smith and the Principles of Social Astronomy”, Desai elaborates on the Classical definition of progress, looking at progress as a theory with regards to justice and in material arts. He identifies that progress has a historical dimension – it “occurs through various stages of modes of subsistence” and takes on a different character depending on his historical context. Smith particularly considered private property rights as evidence of progress, and crafted four stages of mankind as the trajectory of progress. (I don't have the book with me, so I'm relying on my class notes.)

    I think this demonstrates using Ni as a mode of accessing and explaining the world. He is able to distill his entire notion of progress (which arguably was his purpose in writing in the first place - to facilitate progress) into a set of observable states (Te) embedded in an abstract time (Ni). He is aware of the long-term implications of human behaviour, yet it was more historically-focused than attempting to predict future human society. His final age of progress - the age of commerce - was the state his society was on the cusp of heading into. Though there is plenty of evidence in 'Wealth of Nations' of his ability to very accurately predict how economic phenomena would unfold (eg. cost/purpose of colonisation - to create markets).

    So...that's my argument for LIE.
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    I didn't read it but I agree with every word you said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    I didn't read it but I agree with every word you said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellothere View Post
    has anyone read Moral Sentiments?
    the reason I ask is that having read some of Wealth of Nations, I tend to agree with the LIE analysis, and maybe the Te focus is why I found it (relatively) enjoyable to read (being Te dual seeking myself, or maybe not). However the subject matter is arguably most suited to a Te/Ni treatment in the first place, so maybe some of what is coming through is a reflection of what he is writing about rather than himself (an alpha NT, being competent in Te and Ni could perhaps give off an gamma NT impression if writing on a gamma NT subject). In contrast, moral philosophy is probably something which is harder to approach in the same manner, so I was wondering (having not read it myself) if (and if so, how) his Te/Ni-ness comes through there as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hellothere View Post
    the reason I ask is that having read some of Wealth of Nations, I tend to agree with the LIE analysis, and maybe the Te focus is why I found it (relatively) enjoyable to read (being Te dual seeking myself, or maybe not). However the subject matter is arguably most suited to a Te/Ni treatment in the first place, so maybe some of what is coming through is a reflection of what he is writing about rather than himself (an alpha NT, being competent in Te and Ni could perhaps give off an gamma NT impression if writing on a gamma NT subject). In contrast, moral philosophy is probably something which is harder to approach in the same manner, so I was wondering (having not read it myself) if (and if so, how) his Te/Ni-ness comes through there as well.
    I'm not sure I agree that the subject matter was necessarily Te/Ni. Smith was writing in a complete void of 'economic literature' since he, in many regards, established the field. So he was writing as a moral philosopher, because political economy did not exist as a discipline until he took it up. I think his particular approach demonstrates Te, rather than reflecting the Te nature of the subject. For example, I don't think Marx took a Te approach, and he was arguably also a Classical economist, and the neoclassical approach is certainly not Te driven (I would argue that it is Ti + Ne).

    In 'Wealth of Nations', Smith wrote: "In the progress of society, philosophy or speculation becomes, like every other employment, the principal or sole trade of a particular class of citizens. Like every other employment too, it is subdivided into a great number of different branches, each of which affords occupation to a peculiar tribe or class of philosophers; and this subdivision of employment in philosophy...improves dexterity and saves time." I think that depicts his Te approach, in his very definition of economics as a new field of enquiry. (So while I'm not claiming he created 'economics', he did found it as a profession.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're calling it a gamma NT field, and I'm saying that he made the field, so if you're seeing it as gamma NT, that should be a stronger indicator that he too is gamma NT.

    In any case, the 'Theory of Moral Sentiments' is available in its entirety online: http://www.adamsmith.org/smith/tms/tms-index.htm I personally don't see it as being all that alien or different to 'Wealth of Nations'. I think his philosophical approach was consistent through most of his writing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by idolatrie View Post
    In 'Wealth of Nations', Smith wrote: "In the progress of society, philosophy or speculation becomes, like every other employment, the principal or sole trade of a particular class of citizens. Like every other employment too, it is subdivided into a great number of different branches, each of which affords occupation to a peculiar tribe or class of philosophers; and this subdivision of employment in philosophy...improves dexterity and saves time." I think that depicts his Te approach, in his very definition of economics as a new field of enquiry. (So while I'm not claiming he created 'economics', he did found it as a profession.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're calling it a gamma NT field, and I'm saying that he made the field, so if you're seeing it as gamma NT, that should be a stronger indicator that he too is gamma NT.
    That is not really a strong argument for Gamma NT, since that could just as well be describing the development of new categories.
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    Quote Originally Posted by idolatrie View Post
    I'm not sure I agree that the subject matter was necessarily Te/Ni. Smith was writing in a complete void of 'economic literature' since he, in many regards, established the field. So he was writing as a moral philosopher, because political economy did not exist as a discipline until he took it up. I think his particular approach demonstrates Te, rather than reflecting the Te nature of the subject. For example, I don't think Marx took a Te approach, and he was arguably also a Classical economist, and the neoclassical approach is certainly not Te driven (I would argue that it is Ti + Ne).
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you're calling it a gamma NT field, and I'm saying that he made the field, so if you're seeing it as gamma NT, that should be a stronger indicator that he too is gamma NT.
    Yeah, fair point. On a side note, I'd be interested to hear why you think neoclassical economics is Ti+Ne (not that I have an opinion of my own)

    In any case, the 'Theory of Moral Sentiments' is available in its entirety online: http://www.adamsmith.org/smith/tms/tms-index.htm I personally don't see it as being all that alien or different to 'Wealth of Nations'. I think his philosophical approach was consistent through most of his writing.
    That's what my lecturer says, but I was curious about whether his socionics type shows up as clearly in that subject matter. Guess I should take the time to read it for myself

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