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.