Adam Smith and the Yellow Vest Movement

Eric Toussaint

Some passages in Adam Smith’s major work, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776 provide evidence that his social analysis clearly refers to class struggle and sheds light on the currently active Yellow Vest movement. Referring to Karl Marx would of course offer ample keys to understanding what is currently happening. But who would be surprised? On the other hand referring to Adam Smith may seem to be sheer provocation. We have to open our eyes even wider and comfort our arguments against those who consider that injustice is part of the way of the world. Examining the analysis of social classes carried out by Adam Smith also makes it possible to understand the elements of continuity in the system of capitalist exploitation and domination. Obviously society has changed but there are recurring features that it is interesting to highlight.

Adam Smith, the icon of the establishment as well as of the majority of those who support the capitalist system as a horizon society cannot trespass, exposed the action of the capitalist class and the support it receives from the law and parliament. This really deserves to be thrown into the face of self-appointed experts and main stream journalists who actually serve injustice and who’s only fuzzy knowledge of Adam Smith, is a vague idea about an ‘invisible hand’.

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