Against the Public Interest

  • Gavin Kennedy


Smith’s litany against the imperfections introduced into markets by merchants and manufacturers included reviewing their probity when addressing others, particularly legislators, in support of their interests.

As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have frequently more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercised rather about the interest of their own branch of business, than about that of society, their judgement, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every occasion) is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former of these two objects, than with regard to the latter. Their superiority over the country gentleman is, not so much in their knowledge of the publick interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own interest than he has of his. … The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacturers, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the publick. To widen the market, and to narrow the competition, is always in the interest of the dealers.1


Public Interest Market Failure State Failure Economic History Private Interest 
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Copyright information

© Gavin Kennedy 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gavin Kennedy
    • 1
  1. 1.EdinburghUK

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