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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 316 of Dugald Stewart’s classic 1793 “Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, L.L.D.,” as this series of lectures appears at the end of Liberty Fund’s 1982 collection of Smith’s Essays on Philosophical Subjects (a collection originally published by Cadell and Davies, in London, 1795) (footnotes deleted):

On this system, as it took its rise from the prejudices or rather from the interested views of mercantile speculators, Mr. Smith bestows the title of the Commercial or Mercantile System; and he has considered at great length its two principal expedients for enriching a nation; restraints upon importation, and encouragements to exportation. Part of these expedients, he observes, have been dictated by the spirit of monopoly, and part by a spirit of jealousy against those countries with which the balance of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous. All of them appear clearly, from his reasonings, to have a tendency unfavourable to the wealth of the nation which imposes them. His remarks with respect to the jealousy of commerce are expressed in a tone of indignation, which he seldom assumes in his political writings.

DBx: As reading An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations makes clear, Smith saw no point in excusing protective tariffs and other negative-sum policies which artificially enrich a handful of producers at the larger expense of the general public as being ingenious schemes ostensibly meant to increase the wealth of the nation. Smith recognized such schemes as the predatory practices that they are.