If you never got around to reading Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations'" you'll be happy to know someone funnier than you - and with more time to kill - finally has. O'Rourke, the unapologetic satirist behind "Republican Party Reptile" and "Eat the Rich," has delved into the often-quoted but rarely read tome so you don't have to. With wit and insight, he reveals why what seems obvious now was once, and still is, revolutionary- Commonwealth Club of California
Joe Epstein is the former President of The Commonwealth Club's Board of Governors. He is a veteran of over forty years in the steel business. In 1970, he founded Sierra Pacific Steel, a full line steel service center, located in Hayward, California. The Company was sold in 1998. He joined with David Garner to start Sierra Steel Trading, LLC in 2002.
Epstein is the President of Sierra Steel Trading and oversees its on going activities.
With more than 1 million words of trenchant journalism under his byline and more citations in the Penguin Dictionary of Humorous Quotations than any living writer, O'Rourke has established himself as a premier political satirist. He is the best-selling author of 16 books, including Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, Eat the Rich, The CEO of the Sofa, Holidays in Hell, Peace Kills and On the Wealth of Nations. Both Time and The Wall Street Journal have labeled O'Rourke "the funniest writer in America."
Adam Smith, paste medallion by James Tassie, 1787; in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh(baptized June 5, 1723, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scot.died July 17, 1790, Edinburgh) Scottish social philosopher and political economist. The son of a customs official, he studied at the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford. A series of public lectures in Edinburgh (from 1748) led to a lifelong friendship with David Hume and to Smith's appointment to the Glasgow faculty in 1751. After publishing The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), he became the tutor of the future Duke of Buccleuch (176366); with him he traveled to France, where Smith consorted with other eminent thinkers. In 1776, after nine years of work, Smith published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the first comprehensive system of political economy. In it he argued in favour of an economic system based on individual self-interest that would be led, as if by an invisible hand, to achieve the greatest good for all, and posited the division of labour as the chief factor in economic growth. A reaction to the system of mercantilism then current, it stands as the beginning of classical economics. The Wealth of Nations in time won him an enormous reputation and would become virtually the most influential work on economics ever published. Though often regarded as the bible of capitalism, it is harshly critical of the shortcomings of unrestrained free enterprise and monopoly. In 1777 Smith was appointed commissioner of customs for Scotland, and in 1787 rector of the University of Glasgow.
Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the Commonwealth club of California. My name isJoe Epstein. I am a past chair of the Commonwealth Clubs Board of Governors. I am going to be yourchair and your moderator for tonight. Programs like todays are made possible by the support ofCommonwealth Club members. So if you are not yet a member today is a great time to join. Membersdo enjoy many benefits which include free attendance at events held at club headquarters on Mondaysand Fridays. This is a value of over $500 per year. Information is available in the lobby and the clubstaff will be happy to answer any questions that you may have following tonight's program.Now let me mention just a few of our upcoming programs. Tomorrow, Friday February the 9th, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium and the man who first suggested thatPluto is not a planet. He will discuss Black Holes: And Other Cosmic Quandaries. That's Mr. Tyson,it's not me. This is going to be a noon program and it will be right here at the Club Office in San Francisco.And then on Tuesday February the 13th, Tom Vilsack, the immediate past governor of Iowa and thefirst declared Democratic Presidential candidate for 2008 will discuss his views. This will be a noonprogram and it's also going to be held here at the Club Office. So for more information on all of ourupcoming programs pick up a copy of our magazine, its called The Commonwealth. You can find it inthe lobby or on the Internet go to commonwealthclub.org, and now on to the program, you are going tofind question cards on your seats, please write down any questions that you have for P J O'Rourke andthese cards would be collected during the program.Also now is a good time to please make sure that all of your cell phones, pagers or any other electronicdevices are turned off. So I am going to pause now just for a moment while everyone makes sure thattheir cell phones and pagers are off and we will begin this program for our radio audience.Sounds like the orchestra is quiet.Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California. I am JoeEpstein, a past chair of the Commonwealth Clubs Board of Governors and your Chair and moderatorfor today. We also welcome our listeners on the radio and invite everyone to visit us on the internet atcommonwealthclub.org. And now it is my pleasure to introduce our distinguished guest,author and humorist, P J O'Rourke.PJ O'Rourke confesses that during his student days in the 1970s he was a left leaning hippie. And thelater in the decade he underwent a conversion and emerged as a political observer and humorist withdefinite libertarian and some say conservative views but decidedly anti-leftist view points. Nowaccording to a profile done by 60 Minutes he is the most quoted living man in the Penguin Dictionaryof modern humorist quotations. For example he once sarcastically proposed two other Americanpolitical parties, one to cater to those with his peculiar mixture of views and another for those whowould hold the opposite mixture of views, makes perfectly good sense to me to do that.Now PJ has toured the recent fighting in Iraq, he has visited the West Bank disguised as PJ of Arabiaand he has traded quips with communist rebels in the jungles of the Philippines. He covers currentevents with the skill and the discipline of an investigative reporter, but he adds a unique spin that hasearned him a reputation as a modern day Will Rogers. He has 12 best selling books which includeParliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, Eat The Rich and the CEO of The Sofa. Both TimeMagazine and the Wall Street Journal have called him the funniest writer in America. He has writtensuch diverse publications as Automobile, the Weekly Standard, House and Garden, The New YorkTimes Book Review, Forbes, Rolling Stone and the Atlantic Monthly.Currently PJ O'Rourke is the H L Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and is a regularcorrespondent for the Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator and the Weekly Standard. He is afrequent panelist on NPR's radio game show, "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!". Mr. O'Rourke attendedMiami (Ohio) University and Johns Hopkins University. P J is known in some circles as a cigarsmoking conservative. But in fact he bashes all political persuasions and as he puts it giving money andpower to government is like giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys. Please give a very warmwelcome to humorist and author P J O'Rourke.Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to speak at the Commonwealth Club. I have spoken herebefore and it was a good audience, there were good questions, I and I hope I am a worthy speaker forthe organization. This book that I have done On The Wealth Of Nations is part of a series, part of aseries at Grove Atlantic Press has been my publisher forever. They were doing called Books ThatChange The World. There are commentaries on on great books, on the Bible, the Koran, Origin ofSpecies, Das Capital and so forth. We may eventually do another series of books that didn't change theworld, Report of the Iraq study group, so on so forth, but that's in the future.The series that we are working on now it's a bit like one of those dummies, you know guides. Exceptits not for dummies, its for smart people, but the understanding that smart as we may be we are nevergoing to make it all the way through all of these great books or in the case of me through any of thesegreat books, except that somebody paid me to get through this particular great book. You know TVushered in the age of post literacy and we have gone so far beyond that, I mean, what with the Internetand Google and Wikipedia. I think we have entered the age of post intelligence and I fear that we willlive to see the day when a person of learning and cultivation is spoken of as being well blogged.So Books That Changed The World to tell us what we would have read in the great books if we hadread them and what we would have thought about what we would have read if we did any thinking.And what was Grove Atlantic thinking when they asked me of all people to write the book on theWealth of Nations. Well, I guess, I guess what they were thinking was that they were trying to figureout a way to present important ideas to a society that is obsessed with trivialities and they felt that noone could make things as trivial as I can. So I I sit down with this thing and I cracked open to the firstof 900 pages. And right away I am faced with a deep philosophical question, an important intellectualpuzzle, something I call the quantity query. Why are all these great books always so damn long, youknow, I think we have all faced this question usually the night before a big exam when we were incollege and one nice thing I have got to say about about getting to my 60th year is that I am nolonger embarrassed to ask the question about why these things are so long. I I back in when I wasin college, say taking a course on George Elliot, I wouldn't have been able to gin up the nerve to askmy professor why is Middlemarch so damn long. You know, it sure would have been that way to quickand easy, but now I am free to do that. And the Wealth of Nations is very long and as befits a bookabout economics there is an economic reason for its being long. When it was published in 1776 it soldfor one pound, 16 shillings, this at a time when the average wage in Britain was 10 shillings a week.Now your serious minded book buyer demands good weight. I mean, take for instance and lift theAutobiography of Bill Clinton which I feel could have been summed up in a few choice words. Soeconomics made the Wealth of Nations long, but not just the book selling part of economics,economics is it's complicated. We know that if it were simple all of us would be lots richer, youknow. But what made Adam Smith a genius was that he was able to simplify economics, he was able totake economics and turn it into a precise scientific discipline as distinct from the unruly jumble of themental and physical world that we encounter in the actual economy. The problem however was that theminute any of us enter that world of the actual economy, all the mental and physicalstuff comes jumbling back down on our heads.For example, if I discover that my five-year-old has walked out of Wal-Mart with an unpaid for mylittle pony, all of a sudden I am not just dealing with the science of economics, I am also dealing withthe science of psychology, the science of sociology with political science in a way and for that matterwith mechanical engineering trying to pry her lose from the stupid purple plastic horse you know.And Adam Smith he was just a he was every bit as willing as my crying child and I are too stray fromstrictly economic points and here is Adam Smith 231 years ahead of himself holding forth on whyAngelina Jolie makes a discreditable amount of money.Smith said there are some very agreeable and beautiful talents of which the exercise for the sake ofgain is considered as a sort of public prostitution. An exorbitant rewards of players opera singers andopera dancers et cetera are founded upon the rarity and beauty of the talents and the discredit ofemploying them. So every time you start to feel envious about what Hollywood people get paid justremember that they are public prostitutes. It's that kind of stuff that makes the whole 900 pages ofAdam Smith's the Wealth of Nations actually worth reading. Well not perhaps the whole 900 pagesthere there is for instance a 25,000-word digression concerning the variations of the value of silverduring the course of the last four centuries that is like reading modern maturity inUrdu, but a lot of that is very interesting.Another thing that makes the Wealth of Nations long is that that it was very much a product of theenlightenment era and enlightenment thinkers loved to explain things. So it was a kind of aexplainomania going on in the 18th century. Now the enlightenment takes its name from what if youthink about it is a kind of cartoon moment in intellectual history, you see. You see light bulbs suddenlyappeared over the heads of people like Adam Smith except they didn't have light bulbs. But you knowwhat I mean. All these guys suddenly realized that the world is not a divine obscurity, comprehensibleonly through prayer and Monkish meditation. In other words they realized that not looking at thingswas not the best way of looking at things. You know that if you illuminated the machinery of naturewith a little observation and thought you could see how things work. The universe was explicable andenlightenment thinkers they were going to prime mover damn it, explain.No matter how long it took them you know.Now all explanations start out brief as those of you who are married probably know. But pretty soonAdam Smith he gets tangled up in clarifications, he kind of gets intellectually caught out dagwoodstyle carrying his shoes up the stairs of exegesis at 3:00 am you know expounding his headoff while that vexed and crabby spouse, the reader, stands with arms crossed and slippertapping on the second floor landing of comprehension.For example in book one of wealth Smith is trying, he is trying to explain how we determine price andvalue and he says if among a nation of hunters it usually cost twice the labor to kill a beaver which itdoes to kill a deer, one beaver should naturally exchange for or be worth two deer and I am going -wait a minute is killing a beaver really twice as hard as killing a deer? I mean deer can run like hell,you know, we know where the beaver lives. It built the beaver dam we have the beavers home address,you know, and then even if it does take twice as long to kill the beaver waiting around in the beaverponds smacking at bucky's head with a flat side of the canoe paddle I mean who wants a beaver youknow I mean its not like this nation of hunters is wearing a lot of top hats, you know, I mean and after along day of being a hunter, I mean, you know take your pick juicy venison tenderloin or beaver soup,you know, and yet there is this core of simple clarity to the Wealth of Nations.Smith argues three basic principles and by plain reasoning and plentiful examples very plentifulexamples he proves them, I mean, even intellectual should have no trouble understanding Smith'sideas. Economic progress depends upon three individual liberties. Upon the pursuit of self interest thedivision of labor and the freedom of trade. Now Smith's first insight and really his most brilliantinsight was that there is nothing inherently wrong with a person pursuing his or her self interests.Now this doesn't sound like News to us or rather it sounds like everything that's in the news. I meanbecause these days even altruism has a press agent, you know, I mean it's it's in somebody's selfinterests to be a celebrity and Bob Geldorf has figured out a way to stay one you know. But it didn't usedto be liked that. You see religious leaders philosophers, people in political power used to tell everybodyto suck it up. You know, subjugate your ego, bridal your ambitions, sacrifice yourself to God, tosociety, to the political structure and we bought that and we did because we didn't really have anycontrol over our self interest anyway and if we were slaves or serfs and most of us were, we didn'treally even have a self to call our own that we could be self interested in.In the dog house of the ancient and medieval life asceticism made us feel less like dogs. But in AdamSmiths time, by 18th century in Britain ordinary people were beginning to have some control over theirown destinies and this did not please a lot of philosophers, it did not please a lot of religious leadersand it certainly didn't please the remainder of the feudal big shoots. And the fact that these people werepleased by the increasing prosperity of ordinary folk infuriated Adam Smith and we think of irony asbeing a very modern tone but in the 18th century Smith wasn't fully able to use the ironic tone. He saidis this improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks of the people, is this to be regarded as anadvantage or as an inconveniency to society.See in the 18th century prosperity for poor people was not yet considered as self evidently good thingwhy, because nobody had bothered to ask the poor people. And then in lot of parts of the world nobodyhas bothered to ask them yet and Smith was pointing out that it is never a question of religioussacrilege or philosophical folly or indeed of political treason to better our material circumstances. Thequestion is how do we do it? And the answer is Smith's second insight, divisionof labor what we would call specialization.Now people before Adam Smith had realized that division of labor was important but they hadn't reallyrealized how central it was to all economic progress. It was Smith who did that. In fact it was Smithwho seems to have invented the term division of labor. Like I said it's existed forever. It existed sincethe time of the caveman. The little wily fellow with the big ideas, he chips the spear points, thecourageous oaf spears the mammoth and the artistic type does a lovely cave painting of it all, right.This leads inexorably to trade.One person makes a thing, another person makes another thing and people being people, everybodywants everything. And that was Adam Smiths 3rd brilliant insight was that all trades when freelyconducted are mutually beneficial by definition. A person with this got that which he wanted morefrom a person who wanted this more than that. Now it may have been a stupid trade, viewing a cavepainting cannot possibly be worth 300 pounds of mammoth ham, you know. It may have been a lopsided trade, starving cave artist gorges himself for months while a courageous oaf of a new art patronstands scratching his head in the Paleolithic grotto and what about that wily spear point chipper, youknow, I mean, he doubtless took his mammoth cut. But these participants in free trade didn't ask us.It's none of our business, unless, of course, we make it our business by introducing trade regulation.And a regulation cannot be effective unless there is coercion to enforce the regulation.So suddenly instead of free trade we have coercive trade and let me define coercive trade. Coercivetrade is where I get the spear points and the mammoth meat and the cave painting and the cave andwhat you get in return is killed, that is a coercive trade. Coercion is very simply the lack of individualliberty; coercion destroys the mutually beneficial nature of trades, which destroys the trading, whichdestroys the division of labor, which destroys progress. So you can have pursuit of self interest,division of labor and freedom of trade or you can have North Korea.Now Smith's logic in the wealth of nations did a number of interesting things. I mean by proving thatproductivity could be increased and showing how it could be increased what Smith did was hedisproved the idea that bettering the condition of one person necessarily worsens the condition ofsomebody else. An idea that is still dearly held by Marxists and also by everybody's little brother, youknow what's I get, he loses. But wealth is not zero sum, it's probably the central point of AdamSmith is that wealth is not zero sum. If I have too many pizza slices you do not have to eat the dominos box.There is no set amount of wealth, so by showing that there is no set amount of wealth Smith alsodisproved the idea that a nation has a certain fixed hoard of treasure, a king's ransom if you will ofgold and silver and jewels, all locked up in the royal castle vault. No, no said Smith, the wealth ofnations has to be measured in the volume of trades and goods and services over some set period of time.In other words it has to be measured by what goes on in the royal castles kitchens and stables ratherthan what is locked in up in the royal vault. So it was Smith, with this, who invented the concept ofgross domestic product, which was a very good thing because without gross domestic product, moderneconomists would have nothing to say. I mean they would just be standing around mute, in uglyneckties you know waiting for MSNBC to ask them to be silent on the air you know.So if wealth is all ebb and flow then so is its measure of money. Money has no intrinsic value. Nowany baby who has eaten a nickel could tell you that, you know and those of us who are old enough tohave heard about the Weimar Republic and to have lived through the Carter administration, you knowwhat we are not pained by that information. But but the people in the 18th century were because inthe 18th century money was still precious metals. And what Smith had to say about money, this upsethis contemporaries because he was saying he was saying that gold is worth, gold is worth its weightin gold. Yeah, sure of course, but not necessarily worth anything else, you know, and people wereupset by this. Even though they could look with their own eyes they could see 18th century Spain thatwas covered in bling and was completely impoverished, so they knew that Smith was right but it wasstill disturbing to them it was as if Smith having just proved that everybody could have more moneyhad then gone on to prove that money doesn't buy happiness and it doesn't it rents it.So what Smith had to say in the wealth of nations, it disturbed view, it disturbed them at visceral leveland it still does, I mean it disturbed me as I was reading the wealth of nations, I am reading along andand I am reading about the pursuit of self interest and but I am thinking Gee, I am not selfinterested, I am not selfish and greedy, I think about the environment and about others less fortunatethan I am. Especially, those unfortunates who don't care about the environment, I think about them allthe time, I hope they lose the next election, you know, then we can get some people in office whoaren't selfish and greedy, who do care about the environment because if we elect a bunch ofenvironmentalists then that subdivision full of big mansions that's going to block my view of the oceanwon't get built. I am not self interested you know.And let's face it. The lower ranks of people do have too much money. I mean look at Britney Spears, orthose moneybags buying the chateaus to go on my beachfront, I mean, them with their four-bargegarage and the Martha bitchin' Stewart kitchen that they cook in about as often as Martha does thedishes, you know, I mean, they think that they are not the lower ranks because they have got a lot ofdough but their life style is an inconveniency to the society, big time, as they will find out when I keytheir hummer that's taking up 3 parking spots, you know.See these types, all they do is work all day, $8000 a week in some specialized division of labor thatnone of us understand, on Wall Street or in fancy corporate law firms or in expensive hospitaloperating rooms, I mean that's no way to live, you know, I mean, and this is why my wife and I, weare planning to grow all our own food, turnips can be stored for a year, and we are going to use onlyfair traded Internet services with open code programming. We are going to heat the house by means ofclean energy renewable resources such as wind power from the draft under the front door and we aregoing to knit our children's clothes with organic wool from sheep raised under humane farmingconditions in our yard. This this will keep the kids warm and cozy if somewhat itchy and it will buildtheir characters because they will be teased on the street, you know. Because okay, yeah sure completeremoval of all trade restraints that would be good for the economy but think of the danger and damageto society, you know, we have to have regulations.We have to have regulations because if it weren't for government regulation why big corporationsyou know, I mean, if it weren't for the kind of regulation that we have got on those big corporationswhere executives at companies like Enron, World Com, Tyco they could - they could have cheatedinvestors out of millions. I mean without restrictions on the sale of hazardous substances young peoplemight smoke, might drink, they might even use drugs, you know, without strict government licensingof medical practitioners the way would be clear for chiropractors,osteopaths, purveyors of aromatherapy you know.If we didn't have labor unions, 40,000 people would still be waged slaves at the Ford Motor company,their daily lives filled with mindless drudgery. And if they weren't for retail collusion in the petroleumindustry filling stations they could charge as little as they like and I would have to drive all over townto find the best price and that would waste gas. So we have to have regulations, you know. And wehave to consider the harm to the developing world, you know I mean cheap pop music MP3 downloadsfrom the US, this is going to put every nose flute band in Peru out of business, you know.Plus, some jobs some jobs require protection to ensure that they are performed locally in our owncommunities such as my job. My job is to make quips and jest and waggish comments and somewherein Mumbai, there is a younger, funnier person willing to work for a lot less than I do. My job could beoutsourced to him. But Mumbai, me I mean he he is thousands of miles away, he could make anyjoke he wanted without thought of the consequences. He could just let his sense of humor run wild, youknow. He could start making Jerry Ford funeral jokes, about how Ford's funeral lasted longer than hisadministration did, you know and and how it had better economic policy outcomes, you know. Butwho would my in-laws be offended by, who would my wife scold, who would my friend's shun, youknow and then there is the matter of all that Wealth of Nations, ebb and flow of goodsand services of Smith's gross domestic product.Now I am as grossly domestic as the next person, where is the product. You know, how come all thegoods and services ebb out of my income instead of flowing into it you know. Of course, I understandthat that money isn't what's valuable. Love is what's valuable and my bank account is full of love orsomething similar to it, sex that is I have got a fall in my bank account. You see 231 years after theWealth of Nations was published it is still very hard for us to believe in what Adam Smith had to say. Itis hard for me to believe in it and I am right wing Republican Capitalist pig you know. It is importantto understand the Wealth of Nations actually not so much so that we can understand economics. I amnot sure that it's possible to understand economics.Well what's important is that we understand the moral lesson that Adam Smith was trying to convey.And that moral lesson is the necessity of freedom and equality. Now the wealth of nation seems to beabout economics because freedom and equality are so morally necessary that without them we cannoteven perform the humble but morally necessary tasks of feeding, clothing and sheltering those whomwe love. The wealth of nations espouses free enterprise not because free enterprise and free marketswill make us rich although we hope they will you know. But because free enterprise is based uponproperty rights and I don't mean Donald Trump property rights.Free enterprise is based on a far more important property right which is the deed that we all have toourselves our property and our own being, our self possession as free individuals. Adam Smith said theproperty which every man has in his own labor as it is the original foundation of all other properties soit is the most sacred and Smith said that no matter how poor we are, we all have a fortune. We have anestate, we have an investment portfolio in what he called the strength and the dexterity of our hands.And it is this this the source of free enterprise is this humble grasps of shall we say a hammer and asickle you know. Smith said that to hinder a person from using strength and dexterity in whatevermanner that person thought proper without injury to his neighbor is a violation of the most sacredproperty. Property that I call me and that you call you.Now this property, this property right that we have, this property right that we have in freedom, thiswould be meaningless unless we also had equality. Now there was a well known document publishedthe same year as the wealth of nations that said that we hold this truth to be self evident that all men arecreated equal. But why do we hold that to be self evident because it isn't immediately self-evident.Some people are always going to be taller, bigger, stronger, richer, smarter or so on. You know, it'sone of those things, we are all equal because we all showed up, well it doesn't workthat way at weddings and funerals you know.Are we all equal because it says so in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Well the U.N.declaration of human rights also says and I quote, "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure includingreasonable limitation of working hours", and I will tap my wife tell the baby. No it was Adam Smithwriting about mere economics who explained why we are all equal is because man, the most powerfulcreature ever to bestride the earth is also the most pitifully helpless. We are born incapable of caring forourselves and we remain so to judge by kids today until we are about 40. I mean, at the age of twowhen any other mammal in its peak earning years, the human toddler cannot find its ass with bothhands you know. At least not well enough to use the potty.The entire creativity of Daniel Defoe was incapable of getting Robinson Crusoe through the work weekwithout a supply of manufactured goods from the shipwreck and the services of a cannibal executiveassistant. We must treat other people with respect to the equals not because we are inspired with nobleprinciple or filled with fraternal affection but because we are pathetic and useless. I quote Adam Smith"An individual stands in all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes." Whilehis whole life he is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons.Now you think about that that's a left wing statement. I mean that is almost a heartfelt plea forsocialism and yet that sentence which I just read, is the sentence that comes directly before the singlemost quoted sentence in the Wealth of Nations. The sentence that reads, "It is not from the benevolenceof the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner but from the regard to their own selfinterest" and that second sentence is almost always quoted as though it meant greed is good and that isnot the meaning of the Wealth of Nations. Adam Smith does not urge us to selfishly pursue wealth inthe free enterprise system. What he urges us to do is to give thanks to the butcher and the brewer andthe baker do. The butcher, the brewer and the baker they may be wonderfulpeople or they may be greedy pigs, that's not the point.The point that the wealth of nations is making is that the butcher, the brewer and the baker are endowedby their creator with certain unalienable rights and among those are steak, beer and hoagie rolls. Nowthat's everything that I know about Adam Smith but we have got a bunch of questions hereand so I will make up some other stuff.