Adam Smith Needs a Paper Clip
, by Virginia Postrel
, May 2017
A short history of pins as fasteners from Adam Smith in the late 18th century to the invention of the paper clip at the turn of the 19th century
"Adam Smith famously used a pin factory to illustrate the advantages of specialization ... because the different tasks were performed under one roof: "... the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by distinct hands ..." By improving workers' skills and encouraging purpose-built machinery, the division of labor leads to miraculous productivity gains. Even a small and ill-equipped manufacturer, Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations, could boost each worker's output from a handful of pins a day to nearly 5,000."
Classical Liberalism in Argentina: A Lesson for the World
, by Jacob Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Jul 1994
Highlights Argentine history from the 1810 revolution to the late 20th century, arguing that the period from 1852 to 1930 demonstrated the validity of Adam Smith's writings, also discussing 1958 visits by Leonard Read and Ludwig von Mises
"In his great treatise — An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations — Smith asked, what have been the traditional means of combating poverty throughout history? The answer, of course, was government. People had always believed that governmental policies were necessary to ensure that people did not starve to death or suffer lives of impoverishment. Yet, despite the best efforts of governmental officials throughout the ages — such as with the English Poor Laws, the Corn Laws, price controls, and antispeculation laws — people had continued to suffer deep privation."