Adam Smith in Beijing
November 9, 2008 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Adam Smith in Beijing Embedded Flash film 1hr59mins "Is US power in decline? What are we to make of the rise of China? Will a possible equalization of North-South relations herald a more brutal capitalism or a better world? Giovanni Arrighi, Joel Andreas, and David Harvey give their perspectives in this forum, for a discussion of Arrighi's 2007 book Adam Smith in Beijing. The event, filmed in Baltimore, MD, in March of 2008, was organized by the Red Emma's collective."
posted by Abiezer (10 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's funny how Adam Smith tends to be associated with extremely laissez faire capitalism, since Smith advocated the use of government regulation and taxation as a means of keeping economies in check. I suspect that the cause is a combination of the elevation of capitalism to the status of nearly a religion by certain capitalists and the fact that the individuals in question tend to be especially libertarian in outlook. As such, "Adam Smith" becomes a byword for libertarian capitalism because, as the "founder" of the faith, surely he was extremely doctrinaire and pure, right?

Or at least that's my theory.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:42 AM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

That's of course one of the points addressed, particularly by Harvey who speaks later in the film.
The three speakers are all of the left, but I would strongly suggest anyone interested in some of the nitty-gritty of the economic transformations in post-Reform China watches the discussion. Andreas in particular gives what I regard as a very cogent short summary of the trajectory of the dismantling of the command economy, and all the speakers offer interesting observations and analysis.
posted by Abiezer at 11:56 AM on November 9, 2008

Ahh, Red Emma's take on capitalism. I look forward to the companion piece of socialism put out by the American Enterprise Institute.
posted by proj at 1:13 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

What the fuck for a comment is that? You've just shown yourself to be more of a knee-jerk ideologue than any of the three speakers in the linked talk - which of course you'd know if you'd actually watched any of it, ya big pillock.
You know, if the American Enterprise Institute, (whoever they are, and I'd never heard of this Red Emmas before either) assembled a similar panel of fine minds with a grasp of their subject and set out their take on socialism, I'd certainly watch with interest. It's nice to learn new things from people who know what they're on about; I recommend you try it some time.
posted by Abiezer at 2:52 PM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

China's government is a better capitalist than ours. They just announced an economics stimulus package, which is essentially a giant public works project a la FDR/TVA. I suspect that it's huge investments in infrastructure (energy, transportation, water, networks), that will pave the way towards future growth. Clearly a better plan for a better economy and free markets rather than corporate socialist handouts to banks and insurance companies (what, you think CHL is any better off than AIG? Who do you think owned those crap mortgages in the end?).
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:16 PM on November 9, 2008

I mean LFC, of course (not CHL, been looking at too many ADRs lately ;-)
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:18 PM on November 9, 2008

id never thought about how we've been fighting with the capitalists about the use of society's surplus value since about 1970. its pretty obvious that the whole clan of "supply side" economics, deregulation, privatization, military-industrial-complex (halliburton) philosophy is built to protect those who make enormous surplus value. thinking about it in conspiratorial terms doesnt add up but thinking about it in class warfare terms most definitely does.

great post
posted by Glibpaxman at 3:54 PM on November 9, 2008


The one time I visited Red Emmas, I wanted to talk politics, and all I got was American Idol. Thank you for correcting my low opinion by showing me some of their more intellectual efforts.
posted by honest knave at 5:34 PM on November 9, 2008

> You've just shown yourself to be more of a knee-jerk ideologue than any of the three
> speakers in the linked talk

Who is the evil spirit that goes around whispering "Post this as a video"? I'm a knee-jerk ideologue too but I'll check this out, and carefully, if there's a text transcript somewhere. There's just no place in my life for l..o..n..g....l..e..i..s..u..r..e..l..y....s..t..a..r..i..n..g at a 575mb mpeg4 when I know I could stream the thing into my brain in one fifth the time if they'd let me read. Plus, the text version would be machine searchable later if there is actually any good stuff in it.
posted by jfuller at 5:14 AM on November 10, 2008

That's a fair point, jfuller. But since it's basically three blokes in some dodgy knitwear talking, you could have it on it the background/ listen like it's a podcast and all you would be missing is some sartorial no-nos.
posted by Abiezer at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2008

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