The Economic Option

All three of the historians that we examined had different viewpoints regarding economics than did Adam Smith. While Smith believed laissez-faire capitalism was the best economic method a country could employ, his opponents (Marx, Saint-Simon and Owens) all believed that it belittled the poor to such an extent that it was not a viable option. Although the capitalist method increases production to unforeseen levels, it creates an undeniable divide between social classes. The owners of the companies become much richer than the working class people, while all they have to do is sit down and watch the money being made in front of their eyes. Although this was clear exploitation of the working class, Smith believed that this was the best method because it helped the country grow economically, even though the people suffered. Marx was against this. He thought that if the gap between the rich and the poor got to an uncontrollable level the whole economy would come crashing down. The workers would get angry enough to rebel against the owners and the whole governmental system would plunge into anarchy, finally resulting in the “purest form of socialism”, communism. Saint-Simon also thought that the capitalist society would not work in the long run – when competitors in the same job went up against each other they would try to beat out the other person instead of being the best worker that they could be. He supported more of an “equality” economy where the owners would work to support their employees so they their workers would enjoy putting in the hours at the factory.

Which method do you think is best? There are pros and cons to each type of economy, but I feel you have to side with the one that provides the most growth for the country as a whole over individuals. Marx’s plan would lead to inevitable conflict, while Saint-Simon’s wouldn’t provide as much production that is desired. I would choose Adam Smith’s capitalism because it vaults the specific country into a whole new class on the world scale, while raising the bar for all of the people in said country.

3 thoughts on “The Economic Option

  1. I agree that Adam Smith’s plan is the best one. Marx never seems to offer a solution, and only finds faults in the labor system. Adam Smith proposes the best plan for an efficient, productive, and lucrative economy. With his method, countries are offered a high degree of prosperity, and when countries prosper, individuals also tend to prosper. When individuals prosper, a nation prospers. I think his plan is best because it offers a chance for the people of a nation and the nation itself to exist in a reciprocal relationship of general success, good fortune, and affluence.

  2. Have we really changed that much? Do we not, as humans, inherently feel competitive against another who threatens our chance of wealth and power? Maybe this is why employers are known to hire the poor and bottom class, because they know these people will work hard for little pay and no hope for rising in class. They focus on being a good worker as apposed to being competitive.

  3. I don’t think choosing a’ pure’ system of either type is the right course of action. I think that both systems’ have the potential to have horrendous consequences. Communism can slow down progress and innovation, and no one is motivated to do anything above and beyond what is required. Additionally, there is a high risk of an all-out failure in the system. Capitalism also had the potential to become extremely hostile to all except the wealthy. As there are no safeguards against the CEOs and presidents of companies, their proportion of all wealth can become so massive, that they control all aspects of the worker’s life, as the worker is completely tied to his employer.

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