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
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
Mar 6, 2021 • 19 tweets • 13 min read
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
Mar 5, 2021 • 26 tweets • 15 min read
Welcome back to consumption taxes! #AdamSmith has still got a lot to say on this in #WealthOfNations. Let's jump right back in. (V.ii.k.) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Exise duties are a tax that falls mostly on goods produced at home for consumption at home—generally a few goods that are widely used.
These are mostly luxuries, except for the salt, leather, soap, candles thing.
#AdamSmith's thoughts on taxation: They are numerous, and outlined in detail in #WealthOfNations. Today we'll be looking at taxes on profit! (V.ii.f–g) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Smith starts out by reminding us that profits are divided into the part that pays the interest and the part over and above that which pays the interest.
We're assuming there's a group for whom this is exciting. We, the SmithTweeters, may not count ourselves among them. But let's go anyway! (V.ii.b) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Remember how Smith divided private revenue into rent, profit, and wages in the first book? Now he's gonna divide up taxes. Smith loves a good subdivision. Taxes can fall on: 1) Rent 2) Profits 3) Wages 4) All three indifferently. (V.ii.b.1) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Feb 26, 2021 • 17 tweets • 11 min read
Now you know all the things #AdamSmith has to say about what the government should spend money on. But that money's gotta come from somewhere. What does #WealthOfNations say about how governments should get money to spend? (V.ii.) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
I know the tax nerds have been waiting for this chapter (we ❤ you, nerds), but first Smith wants to talk about other sources of revenue "which may peculiarly belong to the Sovereign or Commonwealth". (V.ii.a) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Feb 25, 2021 • 4 tweets • 3 min read
Sovereigns are fancy, and they need revenue to support their fanciness. This is the entirety of part four of this chapter. (V.i.h.1–3) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
In conclusion, all these expenses in Book V Chapter 1—defense, justice, public works, education, religion, fancy sovereigns—are for the benefit of society as a whole so society should help pay for them. (V.i.i.1–6) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Ah, #AdamSmith on education. Something to aggravate every. single. reader. Let’s go! (V.i.f) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Providing educational institutions is part of the duty of the sovereign, but those institutions can be made to produce some of the money needed to maintain them. We naturally do that already, because we pay teachers and endow colleges. (V.i.f.1–2)#WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Feb 22, 2021 • 36 tweets • 21 min read
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ROADS?
Yes, #adasmSmith says sovereigns should also maintain public institutions and public works that are good for society but that people won’t pay for on their own. (V.i.c.1) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
And yes, this category of expenses includes education, about which more later. We promise. (V.i.c.1) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Feb 21, 2021 • 34 tweets • 21 min read
Yesterday #AdamSmith outlined the first duty of the sovereign—protecting the nation from attack. The second duty of the sovereign is protecting individuals from each other aka administering justice. (V.i.b.1) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Just as defense gets more complicated and expensive as societies develop, so does the process of administering justice. (V.i.b.1) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Remember how #AdamSmith was going to explain the Mercantile and Agricultural systems? After 230 pages on the Mercantile system it’s finally time for the Agricultural! ...which gets 25 pages. (IV.ix) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
He’s got a pretty good reason for keeping this brief: A national political economy based entirely on agriculture has never existed except in the minds of French philosophers. Why spend a lot of time on it? (IV.ix.1–2) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
Feb 18, 2021 • 26 tweets • 15 min read
We made it, everyone! It's the conclusion of the discussion of the mercantile system! (IV.viii.) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets
The mercantile system tries to maintain the “balance of trade” by encouraging exports and discouraging imports. Counterintuively, sometimes that's done by encouraging imports. (IV.viii.1) #WealthOfTweets#SmithTweets