Adam Smith And Karl Marx

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I. Adam Smith and Karl Marx
Contemporary economics are best explained by comparing two foundational thinkers that have contributed to the better understanding of liberalism, one being its proponent Adam Smith and the other being its most significant critic, Karl Marx. Both thinkers are profoundly important in locating and investigating the roots of neoliberalism as well as exploring alternatives ways to challenge neoliberal economics in the face of its post-cold war expansion as the inevitable and only alternative to redistribution and economic justice. This essay traces the emerging ideas of classical liberalism as articulated by Smith and their subsequent deployment in the debates that produced neoliberalism. In this context, Marx and Marxism are utilized to expose and deconstruct the shortcomings of both liberalism and neoliberalism and their limits in providing solutions to the structural symptoms of liberal and neoliberal capitalism.

Adam Smith was key in articulating early Enlightenment liberalism as an alternative to the increasing state powers and their subsequent involvement in regulating not only markets but also individual liberties. For Adam Smith, the free flow of goods and services was part and parcel of the early notions of individual liberties. In other words, Smith understood that the rising specialization of businesses, which would increase with industrialization, would render individuals mere machines in the process of labor and production while
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