Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #SmithSnark

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Yesterday we were excited but today we're feeling a little misty-eyed, to tell you the truth. 🥺🥺🥺 We'll be wrapping up #AdamSmith's #WealthOfNations with the end of Book V, Chapter 3, on public debts. (V.iii.47–92) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Also yesterday: Smith laid out the situation of European (and especially British) government debt. It seemed bad!
But not everyone thought so! Some people argued that debt effectively adds to a country's capital.
Nah, says Smith. (V.iii.47–51) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
There's a set amount of capital available in any given country. The government borrowing can't create more, it can only divert some of what there already was (to less productive purposes!). (V.iii.47–51) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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Can it really be...the last chapter of #AdamSmith's #WealthOfNations?

Were we geographically proximate, we'd pinch each other. We must be dreaming! (V.iii.) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
This chapter is on government financing through debt. That sounds like a bit of a slog, but it's not so bad if you think of it as 40 pages of low-key (sometimes not so low-key) #SmithSnark. (V.iii.) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
It's been so long since Smith explained that in pre-commercial society the rich had no way to spend their 💰 but on dependents—commerce gave them somewhere to spend 💰 and thus freed their dependents, that he has to explain it again. (V.iii.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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Today we will finally conclude #AdamSmith's thoughts on consumption taxes in #WealthOfNations.
You may be inclined not to believe us at this point, and we, the SmithTweeters, couldn't exactly blame you. But it's true! (V.ii.k.) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
In fact, today will conclude all of Smith's thoughts on taxes, which we began discussing long ago, in days of yore. (V.ii.) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
It's been so long since we started this journey that Smith takes a paragraph to remind us that any tax meant to raise money from the poor should be on their luxuries and not their necessities. (V.ii.k.44) #WealthOfTweets
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#AdamSmith! #WealthOfNations! #Taxes! He's still going!
Today, at long last, we come to
consumption taxes!

We, the SmithTweeters, realize we've really built this up. (V.ii.k) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
But! There's a lot of good stuff in here! So once more into the breach, dear Smithketeers...

Smith divides consumable commodities into necessaries and luxuries. (V.ii.k.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Smith includes in necessaries not just what's needed for physical survival, but what's required by common decency in a given society at a given time. He uses the examples of linen shirts and leather shoes for British working class men. (V.ii.k.3–4) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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Having said what he had to say about taxes on rent and profits, #AdamSmith pauses, now, for an appendix to handle the taxation of the land and stock that generate rent and profit. (V.ii.h) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Dear readers, we hope you are tax nerds. (We still and forever ❤ you, nerds.) @TurboTax @IRSnews @HRBlock (V.ii.h) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Taxing the revenue generated by land or stock doesn't diminish the ability of that land or stock to generate revenue. But taxing away a portion of the revenue-generating property does. (V.ii.h.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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OK. Chapter 7 of Book 4 of #WealthOfNations is tough going. It's long. It's serious. It's all about colonies.

We can take comfort, though, in knowing that the chapter #AdamSmith says is about colonies is, in fact, about colonies. (IV.vii) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Colonies were a vexed subject when #AdamSmith was writing, and they’re even more complicated now. So, before we even get to the tweeting, here’s a link to that thread on Smith and “savage nations.” (IV.vii) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets

The reason for the ancient Greeks and Romans to settle colonies was straightforward: they didn’t have enough space for their growing populations. Their colonies were treated as “emancipated children”—connected but independent. (IV.vii.a.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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#AdamSmith, #WealthOfNations, and #CornLaws!
What more could you possibly want on a Saturday morning? (IV.v.b) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Yes, it’s the Digression Concerning the Corn Trade and Corn Laws! We can barely contain ourselves long enough to remind you that “corn” doesn’t mean 🌽 It means the principal cereal crop of a nation. (We keep saying so because we keep forgetting.) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
#TLDR on #AdamSmith’s thoughts on the Corn Laws:

They’re bad. (IV.v.b.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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We're back with more thoughts of #AdamSmith about the tools of mercantilism. Today: Bounties! (IV.v.) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Today we'd call bounties subsidies, which makes it much harder to use a Boba Fett gif.

So we're sticking with bounties. (IV.v.a.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Everyone admits, says Smith, that bounties shouldn't be given to industries or endeavors that could happen without them. But that means you're only going to give them to endeavors that can't pay for themselves. (IV.v.a.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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#AdamSmith corrects a lot of economic errors in #WealthOfNations "Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade," upon which nearly all protectionism is based. But we still worry about it today. (IV.iii.c.2) #WeathOfTweets #SmithTweets
Both the supposition that an even balance of trade = fair trade and that an uneven balance of trade implies one side wins and the other loses are false.

That's how he puts it. "Both suppositions are false."

We love a decisive Smith. (IV.iii.c.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
The trap is thinking that the country that brings in the most silver and gold wins. Since bullion is the currency of international trade, exporting more than you import (having a positive trade balance) means you bring in more bullion. (IV.iii.c.3) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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Good morning, Smithketeers! Time for Fun With 18thC Spelling! WHY does #AdamSmith, who invented modern economics, spell it with an O like some kind of crazy person? #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
It's because he's thinking about the Greek roots of the word. Oikos=Household and Nomia=Management [Sending some love to our friends @kefimgr] #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
We, the SmithTweeters, support a revival of this spelling. We're sure it won't bother any of our oeconomist friends, or their oeconomics departments. Right? #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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We, the SmithTweeters, understand you may have bigger fish to fry today than tweets about #AdamSmith and silver. We get it. But here's today's #WealthOfTweets, because--tough times or happy times--we think it's never a bad time to talk about Smith. #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
Wait. Still silver? Didn't Smith say he was talking about silver over 3 periods? OK FINE. FINE. It's fine. So the value of gold relative to silver was regulated by the mints of Europe until the Spaniards found those pesky American mines. (I.xi.h.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
(Reminder: This is still, somehow, about RENT.) #WhatIsHappening #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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Today, we continue #AdamSmith's Digression on Silver. You have been warned. #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
When last we spoke, we learned that nothing interesting happened to silver prices between 1570 and 1640. Maybe people were too busy creating great literature? Anyway, Silver prices rose again between 1640 and 1700, for a lot of reasons.(I.xig.1) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
War makes everything expensive, especially corn. Cornfields become battlefields, and ploughshares become swords. (Reminder: "corn" is a catch-all term for "the staple crop(s) of the population") (I.xi.g.3) #ItsAllCorn #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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The great thing about #AdamSmith is that when he's about to go off on a 65 page tangent, he warns you. Humans, we bring you the DIGRESSIONS ON SILVER! #OhLawdHeComin #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
reddit.com/r/Chonkers/com…
Oh King Edward III, it’s adorable that you think you can just decree that servants and laborers become permanently content with wages fixed at the rate they were at five years ago. gph.is/1Uy1VKJ (I.xi.e.2) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
He’s already digressing, and he can’t take a minute to share the menu from that famously magnificent feast with us? (I.xi.e.4–5) #WealthOfTweets #SmithTweets
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