Adam the SmithThe History of the Quakers of Baptist Mills & Coalbrookdale.

John Freame (1665-1745) financed investments in an industrial revolution, he survived by hard work, honesty & thrift. He was trusted by his customers and earned a good reputation. Lapses, which some say were occasional, were inevitable for folk who thought for themselves and questioned conventional wisdom. Friends didn't supervise his John Freame's activities they watchfully taught & helped in a process of discovery & accumulation of better methods by the application of technology in a market economy.

But why did Quaker enterprises lose their distinctive ethical dimension?

The guides through this moral maze were moral philosopher Adam the Smith and his modern interpreter, devout Quaker & polymath Kenneth Ewart Boulding (1910-93) -

'Adam Smith, who has a strong claim to being both the Adam and the Smith of systematic economics, was a professor of moral philosophy and it was at that forge that economics was made'.

John Freame & his family & friends had skin in the game with a long term view for future generations. But there was a scale problem.

Owners with managers had skin in the scale game. But there was a principal / agent problem.

Adam Smith (1723-90) described a generalised theory of economics as an enthusiastic pursuit of economic activity as a social good. This was the main thrust of the unimpeachable Scottish Enlightenment. Adam Smith wrote two books -

1759 'Theory of Moral Sentiments' described a universal human propensity for empathy & cooperation, innate moral sentiments, which would never have become instinctive if they were not economically useful. No trust no exchange.

1776 'Wealth of Nations' described a universal human propensity to truck, barter & exchange the synergies from specialisation and scale. No exchange no synergies.

Adam Smith explained how it was profitable to cooperate with others you trust.

Adam Smith was often misunderstood, he was not explaining 'self interest' which was easy to understand but the rather more difficult idea about the benefits cooperative exchange.

Charles Darwin  (1809-82) explained 'natural selection'. No synergies no survival.

Charles Darwin was often misunderstood he was not explaining 'nature red in tooth & claw' which was easy to understand but the rather more difficult idea about the origin of social animals.

David Ricardo (1772-1823), an Anglican with known Quaker sympathies, he married one. He helped by identifying 'comparative advantage', a statistical uniformity, which explained the mathematical certainty of trade synergies from specialisation & scale ... with sugar in the tale ... everybody could participate.

Robert Malthus (1766-1834), a cleric obsessed with the horrific and apparently intractable problems of famine & disease. He contributed by identifying 'survival', as a statistical uniformity, which Adam Smith & Charles Darwin emphasised as survival 'know how' which led to a population explosion when folk stopped dying from famine & disease during the industrial revolution.

Adam Smith and Charles Darwin were clear, the emergence of the industrial revolution was not part of 'intention', it didn't work like that. Kenneth Boulding, the great Quaker polymath, explained a complex adaptive system where dissenters were excluded from many specialisations because of their beliefs, but they went on and acquired many different trades and continuously experimented to discover a better mouse trap ... all the hard work helped to put a crumb on the table for their families ... this survival 'know how' was important in building the industrial revolution.

These activities, which included John Freame's bank, were all underpinned by mediating 'moral sentiments' or 'an inner light' which guided all decisions.

The early economics of Adam Smith was not to the left or right of political economy, it was not about big or small government, he was a moral philosopher seeking to explain the remarkable success of John Freame and his ubiquitous mates.

Capitalism was not laissez faire it was bridled by moral sentiments.

Perhaps the church & the state had a useful role to play in nurturing moral sentiments and institutional sanctions & rewards systems. But interference in market clearing prices was always economic madness ... although in some circumstances price fixing proved to be a useful political con trick.

There was a debate was over the contribution of the Quakers & their fellow industrialist to the regulation of capitalism by religious morality. But a key question was, why did these enterprises lose their distinctive ethical dimension?

Politics and economics were inexorably intertwined but they were different theories of behaviour where disagreements could be settled by scientific methodology ... after all the genes themselves did cost / benefit analysis -

folk believed different things, at different times, in different places; there was immense diversity so the political quest always ended up focused on fraught polarisations; more or less, left or right.

empirical science was about understanding reality; there was immense complexities so the economic quest was focused on the statistical uniformities which emerged from the universal laws of nature and universal human emotions & morality.

Although the early economists were called political economists, Adam Smith was a moral philosopher.

The debate Adam Smith had during the Scottish Enlightenment with the French over Mercantilism was started in his theory of moral sentiments.

Clearly Quaker capitalism provided services to the community, and it was regulated effectively by 'religious' morality. Perhaps Quaker beliefs were described by Adam Smith's moral sentiments?

The economic & scientific debate was about moral sentiments as a innate human universal, or an inner light?

At a fundamental level; were price distortions a moral hazard?

1 Quaker economics.
 A practice to be tested against theories.

Quaker ethics were appreciated by the early economists. David Ricardo left the Catholic church and married a Quaker. Edmund Burke although not an economist was a follower of Adam Smith and although a practicing Anglican he went to a Quaker school. Robert Malthus was an English cleric obsessed by the horrific problems of famine & disease and an inspiration for Charles Darwin.

The industrial revolution was a spectacular & invigorating example of social progress. The evidence was indisputable -

synergies of specialisation & trades and economies of scale provided mutual benefits for all participants

surpluses in agriculture provided time from subsistence for the acquisition of artisan skills & trades

empirical scientific method discovered & accumulated new technological & organisational 'know how'

death rates declined as populations exploded. The urban trek was a mass movement away from the rural cycle of famine & disease.

real wages increased as productivity exploded and a new prosperous middle class emerged. GDP per capita increased.

output exploded as mass production of new widely distributed goods & mass participation in the urban trek resulted in a middle class bulge and reduced inequality.

The Quakers were a community, an ever expanding circle of shared morality. 'Dissent' became a harmonious bed fellow. No man was an island, every individual soul was necessarily dependent on everybody else ... such was the nature of synergistic interaction ... a network of entrepreneurs, suppliers, workers, customers ... and more ...   

Mass production in factories was the result of private saving & investment, as folk escaped from a Mercantilist Feudal system which was the result private taxing & dictatorship.

'Know how' became the valuable resource not land. 'Know how' increased the productivity of land with increasing returns as diminishing returns became a thing of the past. Those who 'clubbed together' and established new fangled property rights and traded their trades found they increased productivity with their experiments. Those who didn't endured subsistence and the tragedy of the commons; death & disease.

Everybody had skin in the game not just the yeomen. Stock owners did not get rich through the labour of others but through mass production of new wealth. John Freame did not labour manually at Gadlys but he did labour socially to earn his reputation as trustworthy. John Freame was an outsider from London who feared debt but he helped to create wealth.

The immense contribution of the Quakers was confronted by the old problems of famine & disease and parasites & predators and formidable new problems of congestion, pollution, unemployment ... and hatred ... !

But the Quakers fought back, their chosen strategy was not necessarily religion, but it was certainly morality.

2 Social Interactions.
Economists understood that trying to 'create money out of nothing' produced distortions, inflation & unemployment. Inflation & unemployment were not alternatives but two sides of the same coin.

The Quaker society was not a 'thing' but a mass of cooperative interactions from which emerged a tapestry of universal moral sentiments and social justice.

The appalling conditions of the urban trek were not caused by subsistence wages but by avoiding famine, disease and early death. Real wages were determined by productivity; what else could determine real wages?

The essential economic issue of the industrial revolution was wealth creation not tyranny & oppression. More folk were living longer & better. John Freame invested in lead at Gadlys and the output of lead increased dramatically.

The very language used by the early economists was consistently misrepresented. It was 'moral sentiments' that distinguished folk as social animals from rats. 'Subsistence' described the old order not the industrial revolution.

Adam Smith wrote about 'moral sentiments' not the the 'intentionality' of reason. Follow the inner light of because of incomprehensible ignorance about the future. The road to hell is paved with good 'intentions' was more than an urban myth it described what cognitive scientists call 'outcome bias' - the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of basing judgment on the quality of the decision at the time it was made. To avoid the 'outcome bias', decisions must be evaluated by ignoring information collected after the fact and focus on what the quality of the decision at the time it was made.

Repeat; the Quakers were driven by the inner light, not 'intention'. John Freame was driven to educate his kids; he learned a 'trade', so he could trade with others to share synergies for his family. In 1690 he knew nothing of an 'intention' to contribute to an industrial revolution.

Nevertheless John Freame did prove, but not by 'intention', that Mercantilism was little more than theft, and was not in the public interest and hence the accumulation of gold was abandoned and John Freame & his Quaker friends started to create wealth.

Adam Smith was inspiring as he explained to the Mercantilist French why the industrial revolution and trade exchange based on trust produced mass wealth for everyone. This was not part of 'intention' it was an unanticipated result of social cooperation.

'Feeding the Victorian City' by Roger Scola -

'The first industrial revolution was not a foreseeable event, nor did any significant element of planning enter into the process of urbanisation which accompanied it. The environmental conditions ruling in many British towns at the beginning of Victoria reign have often been criticised, and it is commonly observed that the lessons took two or three generations to digest and even longer to prompt effective action. Against this back ground, it might appear that in the area of food supply & distribution, at least, considerable success was achieved'..

The Quakers and others solved problems with others in social interaction. The Quaker 'club' welcomed recruits to their meeting houses and their sharp inner morality helped alleviate poverty & disease through philanthropy. This was a fine social institution which had a dramatic success during the industrial revolution.

Interestingly Louis Blanc, a French socialist, described the industrial revolution as he saw it -

'How much for your work? - half a crown, I have a wife and children'
'Well and how much for yours? - two shillings, I have no children but I have a wife'
'Very well and now how much for yours? - one & eight pence is enough for me, I am single'
The bargain is struck. But what are the other two workmen to do? It is hoped they will quietly die of hunger. But what if they take to thieving? Never fear we have the police. To murder? We have the hangman. As for the lucky one his triumph is only temporary. Let a fourth workman make his appearance, strong enough to fast every other day, and his price will run down still lower; there will be a new outcast, perhaps a new recruit for the prison. Who will be blind enough not to see that under the reign of free competition the continuous decline of wages necessarily becomes a general law with no exception whatsoever?'

and Mrs Gaskell, in 'Mary Barton', described the industrial revolution as she saw it -

'Then came a long whispering and the clinking of money that all related to the preparations for hospitality ... run, Mary dear, just around the corner, and get some fresh eggs at Tippings, and see if he has any fresh cut ham, and Mary, you must get a pennyworth of milk & a loaf of bread, mind you, get it fresh and new, no that's not all, get six pennyworth of rum to warm the tea, get that at The Grapes next door ... '

One view was exploitative, zero sum, the other was synergistic, positive sum. One described a parasitic & predatory world of nature, 'red in tooth & claw', the other described a better, progressive, improved world of cooperation ...

The key contribution of Adam Smith was 'moral sentiments' as the explanation for exchange trade and the synergies of specialisation & scale. And the necessity of defending good gotten gains from the inevitable parasites & predators which appeared as soon as there were stocks. Distinguishing between synergies and theft was never easy ... in the short term.

For sure economics had been imperfectly understood from the beginning ... unsurprisingly ... NB real wages (= output) were growing during the industrial revolution, industrial Lancashire paid 4 times the wages in the rural south?

To hate Quakers and their fellow industrialists because of different beliefs and industrial success must have been a mistake?

To hate Quakers and their fellow industrialists and blame them for poverty must have been a mistake?

Why hatred, jail & even murder?

3 Poverty.

Poor laws, friendly societies, philanthropy, paternalism and the nanny state were not alternatives to wealth creation & profit but attempts to solve the ongoing problems of poverty & disease and parasites & predators which reduced productivity.

The Quakers and others did not go to work to think about profit they were busy solving the many problems of production ... and crucially it was very clear to John Freame what had to be done to smelt lead; the Romans did it years ago ... but not at all clear how to make a profit? The evidence was everywhere particularly in bankruptcy and the debtors prisons.

Elizabeth Gaskell's 'Mary Barton' was published in 1848, Engels book did not appear 1892. But long before this publicity the Quaker entrepreneurs knew they had a problem; Elizabethan poor law had addressed the many headed monster of poverty, way back, the Speenhamland system was introduced in 1795, in 1832 there was a Royal Commission on poverty and the Poor Law Amendment Act was in 1834.

Poverty of old was a preoccupation of the church and the first secular foray into amelioration was Speenhamland which, significantly, addressed the problem of the rural poor who were left behind, not the urban trekkers who sought well paid jobs in the factories. 

Wealth no longer came from a narrow strip of land of the feudal system but from ideas about technology & organisation, from 'know how', which enabled the urban trekkers to build the industrial revolution.

Cholera reared its ugly head in 1827 but John Snow knew how to solve that problem by 1854. More and more it seemed the problems of poverty were solved by technology which increased real wages as productivity per capital rose.

The answer to poverty & disease was cooperation & synergies and not hatred & murderous revolution.

Coalbrookdale cast iron was superb and could not be discredited and it proved that the world could not be turned away from industrialisation.

Coalbrookdale4 Baptist Mills & Coalbrookdale.

Abraham Darby (1678-1717) moved from brass in Bristol to iron at Coalbrookdale. His business made a significant contribution to the industrial revolution and laid the foundations for the wealth & success of the mass production of iron. His work was underpinned by finely honed Quaker moral sentiments and not exploitation.

He moved to Bristol in 1699 and established the Baptist Mills brass works in 1702, including the world’s first metallurgy laboratory, followed by an iron foundry in 1706.

Nehemiah Champion II was a Merchant from Stapleton and another leading partner in the Bristol Brass Wire Company. Bristol had become a centre for 'calamine brass' by the early 18th century. Nehemiah Champion had three sons: John (1705-1794); Nehemiah (1709-1782); and the youngest William (1709-1789).

Abraham Darby was seen as the innovative manager of the Brass Works.

William Champion (1709–1789) the third son and he inherited the metal trade fever at Bristol from his father and went on to do great things with the difficult to refine zinc. William toured Europe to learn the art of brass making, returning to become a junior partner in the Bristol Brass Company in 1730.

The Bristol Brass Company at Baptist Mills on the site of an old grist mill on the river Frome was started in 1702 by a partnership of Bristol Quakers which included a young Abraham Darby. The original partners were - Edward Lloyd (cider maker), Benjamin Coole (Merchant), Arthur Thomas (Pewterer) and John Andrews (Merchant and Vintner, his sister was married to Edward Lloyd). John & Thomas Coster, copper manufacturers who were familiar with Dutch brass foundry techniques, also joined. Thomas Coster (1686-1739) was an MP, a mine adventurer and a dealer in copper and brass for the slave trade.

Nehemiah Champion took over the Baptist Mills when Abraham Darby left for Coalbrookdale in 1709. Baptist Mills was perhaps the earliest of the metal processing partnerships of the industrial revolution, the business becoming an early example of an unincorporated joint stock company.

The initial works were on Old Market in Bristol and it was William who excelled and obtained a patent for his method for zinc refining in July 1738, and his system remained in production for over 100 years. His method dramatically reduced the price of spelter and by 1742 he had made 200 tons of the 'new' material.

But in 1742 he was required to move because the old premises were declared a 'common nuisance'. In 1746 he formed a new company, a partnership with fellow Quakers, and built new facilities at Warmley. The partners included Thomas Goldney, a Bristol merchant who was also a partner in the Coalbrookdale Works, and Sampson Lloyd, a Birmingham ironmonger. They set up the Warmley Company and created a large reservoir to power battery works, wire mills and rolling mills. The Warmley Works became the biggest metal processing plant in the world, with outputs of zinc, copper, brass and other metals.

Champion's Brass WorksPrior to William's invention 'calamine brass' was made by mixing copper with zinc ores which were then heated to obtain the alloy of copper and zinc, brass. Because the amounts of copper and zinc could not be controlled the quality of the brass produced by this method could not be controlled. Using William's production method the copper and zinc could be mixed in the exact amounts needed to obtain the quality of the brass required. His methods enabled him to produce a much higher quality brass than his rivals.

Champion’s process of distillation was very similar to the process used in India, suggesting that the technology reached England from India. Zinc was difficult to extract because of the mixed nature of the metal ores and the difficulty of separation by control of temperature. In fact the production technology of zinc metal was unknown in Europe and other countries in the western world, until William Champion produced zinc from its ore at Bristol in 1750.

The problem with the production of zinc was that a temperature of 1000ºC was needed to reduce zinc oxide to zinc, but the zinc metal vaporised at 907ºC. It was thus necessary for the process to provide a means of condensing the zinc vapour before it emerged from the reducing conditions in the furnace and was lost to the atmosphere or re-oxidized. What William did was to invent an enclosed vessel within the atmosphere of the furnace to capture the zinc vapour and pass it down a tube at the base of the vessel into a water bath where it condensed as zinc flakes. He obtained a patent for this process in 1738. In 1750 he sought an extension of his patent, but this was opposed.

By 1754, the company owned 15 copper furnaces, 12 brass furnaces, 4 spelter furnaces, a battery mill, rolling mills for making plates, rolling and cutting mills for wire, and a wire mill of both thick and fine drawn kinds. At this time William Champion's technology probably made his Zinc and Brass Works the largest industrial site in Europe. Graces Guide has a summary of this interconnected Quaker network ...

William's brother John Champion developed a process, patented in 1758, for the calcination of zinc sulfide to oxide for use in the recovery process.

The zinc industry was concentrated in and around Bristol and Swansea, but the Champions did venture to the Greenfield Valley in 1758.

In 1761 William sought new partners for an expanded works. In 1765 with excess capital on his hands he commenced the ambitious development of a new dock at Rownham on the Avon. However he ended up in financial difficulties. He sought a Charter of Incorporation; a vain attempt to monopolise the trade, but this was refused. When the patents ran out, his competitors rapidly developed furnaces based on his design. William could not compete and with a falling price of zinc, he went bankrupt in 1768 and was dismissed by the Warmley Company. However they never used the works to their full capacity and the company was forced to sell their works in 1769 to the old Bristol Brass Company!

'The Goldney Family: A Bristol Merchant Dynasty' by P K Stembridge, 1998.

'2000 Years of Zinc and Brass' by Paul T Craddock, 1998.

Abraham Darby was a smart cookie and in 1709 he left The Bristol Brass Company and went to Coalbrookdale and took with him an important patent for green sand casting. He purchased a lease on a derelict furnace at Coalbrookdale, the Welsh border country was a popular spot for iron furnaces; ironstone, forests for charcoal and water power had been readily available. But Abraham Darby was to change things he put all his energies - and cash - into producing cast iron from iron ore and coke.

From 1709 at Coalbrookdale Darby secured two technical breakthroughs -

a green sand casting method enabled pots to be made which were thinner though substantial and used less material. Green sand casting involved a mould cavity formed in the sand with wooded patterns and sand cores to form the internal passages.

coke replaced scarce charcoal as the fuel for the blast furnaces which produced the cast or pig iron at a third of the cost. Coal itself was unsuitable for smelting as the sulphur contamination rendered the iron brittle.

Abraham Darby II (1711-63) was the son and in 1750s bagged another major breakthrough -

the use of coke iron in the forges enabling blooms to be produced which were malleable for forging and not 'cold short'. This significant breakthrough involved careful selection of iron ore and coal quality ...

These developments led to divergences in the iron industry. One blast furnace output was now substantial and could supply several associated forges ...

Abraham Darby was operating his blast furnace in Coalbrookdale for the manufacture of cast kettles, pots, pans, cauldrons & grates. His coke iron was useful for pots but little else; pig iron contained too much carbon. The high temperatures of the blast furnace produced liquid iron which readily dissolved carbon.

Once a better quality pig iron was available around 1750 the 'finery' forges produced wrought iron from pig iron using charcoal and then coke to avoid further impurities. The finery melted the pig iron to oxidise impurities and produced a spongy bloom, and in the chafery, the bloom was consolidated with hammers and rolling mills into bar iron.

In the late 18th century there were further changes when these forges stopped relying on ever scarcer charcoal and used coke from coal to handle the blooms.

Success had been achieved using coal fired reverberatory air furnaces to remelt iron pigs and avoid some contamination risk using the 'potting & stamping' process established by John Wood in 1761. The process enabled coal to be separated from the pots in reverberatory  furnaces.

In 1783 Henry Cort won out with an improved process and 'puddled' iron in a reverberatory furnace which again removed contact of the pig iron with the coal and enabled carbon and impurity reduction by oxidation.

The bloom then had to be hammered and rolled into wrought iron, and by 1850, even steel could be produced this way. Cast iron was now puddled in an oxidizing atmosphere to convert it to the lower-carbon mild steel or bar iron, which was further refined by rolling mills driven by steam engines. Later in 1855 the Bessemer process dominated and mild steel replaced wrought iron for most purposes.

 Cheap coal now fired the industrial revolution, liberating processes from the limitations of charcoal and water power! 

'Forge' became the generic name for a local work place for iron fabrication ... nails, horse shoes ...

Technology was hard won and the necessary capital came from family, friends, merchants, partnerships & mortgages.

There were two knotty problems in the iron business -

was there a difference between a defensive cannon and an offensive cannon?

and did patents deprive industry of life saving technology?

A personal digression on factories. Underneath the soap pans in Apapa I experienced the excruciating physical & mental pain of trying to solving intractable problems of production in excessive heat with primitive technology & absent skills. My effort was focused on teaching the new operating & maintenance skills needed for industrialised output, as outlined in my work permit. The meagre success I achieved inevitably involved a some substitution of casual unskilled manual labour with artisan skills ... the result of my efforts and productivity improvement involved some hatred and a murder threat from some of the 'casuals' who had been laid off ... in the midst of the abject poverty in developing countries our mass production methods changed the landscape ... !   ?

This was not about profit per se but a Vulcan instinct in the human mind to solve problems of survival, which almost incidentally led to affordable goods for millions. Was this a Faustian compact? To truly understand capitalism one needs to truly understand this instinct.

Capital did not replace human energy, they were not alternatives, the scale of the energy requirements for mass production ruled out muscle power, and even the horse was inadequate ... not only space & food but organisation & reliability & quality, the numbers just didn't stack up. Machines were not taking the jobs of men, machines were doing jobs that were impossible for men to do ... think computers. Men were now employed for design skills & maintenance of machines ... not for 'manual labour'.

There were other Quakers not directly involved in Baptist Mills or Coalbrookdale but they were essential components of the network of interactions ...

5 Industrialisation.

Quakers in industry.

- Sarah Fell married George Fox and meticulously managed the services at Swarthmoor Hall, the hub of a deeply networked business.

- Lloyds, ironmasters of Pool Quay. Trekkers who gave up the land for the forge and profited hugely. But refused to pay tithes to a prop up a system they didn't believe in. 1727 the business failed and they were disowned, 'no one should trade beyond their ability nor stretch beyond their compass, and they keep their word in all things'. But after repentance, a second chance, and Ambrose Crowley and Lloyds Bank were successful.

- Benjamin Hunstman of cast steel in Sheffield. But the cutlers preferred Crowley's steel and Huntsman's better steel went to France,

- John Freame & Edward Wright and the London Lead Company of Gadlys and Barclays Bank. London capital invests in North Wales.

- Edward Pease, promoted the first public steam railway from Stockton to Darlington in 1823, with a 5% return on investment. Certainly the technical genius of George & Robert Stephenson was the focus but could it have been financed without the Quakers?

- John Bright, was a businessman, son of cotton mill owner Jacob Bright from Rochdale, who with Richard Cobden, also a business man, understood; they founded the Anti-Corn Law League. They understood the muddled thinking of Marx & the Luddites and they knew government interference to fix prices was an intolerable mistake. But did George Cadbury's free trade in cocoa beans encourage slavery in Sao Tome? Of course nobody understood the economics of comparative advantage and that wages were determined by output ...
As dissenting Quakers became successful traders & industrialists they became more acceptable in the community and played their part in Whig activism in lobbying and in Parliament. Most Quakers may have believed that parasites & predators now required regulation from above rather than regulation by Religious morality or the inner light or peer review at the Meeting. John Bright & George Cadbury had very different approaches to Government regulation.
Was the Whig political movement more effective than the Quaker religious movement in influencing moral behaviour? The decline in moral behaviour suggested both were ineffective ... perhaps this was why both movements declined? ... or perhaps moral behaviour had become more prevalent as Steven Pinker suggested in 'The Better Angels of our Nature' ... universal moral sentiments were progressing nicely?  

- Clarks of Street made shoes. In 1825 George Hindley moved his shoe making business from Antrobus in Cheshire to a growing village on the River Weaver, Barnton. The same year James Clark used off cut wastes from his sheepskin tannery to make slippers, the 'Brown Petersburg'. Both businesses did well as populations expanded and sales of hand made quality boomed. By 1900 Edward Hindley had abandoned hand made shoes for chemicals. But Clarks of Street first developed a putting out system to increase production as sales of the branded slippers boomed. In 1863 a recessionary crisis hit the business and Quaker friends stepped in with new capital and new conditions. William Clark was installed as manager and a modernised, mechanised factory system was introduced ... which featured the revolutionary Singer Sewing Machine. Measure to fit product innovations and mass production of quality Singer made shoes revitalised the company ... profits soared, the loan was repaid and Edward Hindley's hand made shoe business lost out to branded innovation, new technology, mass production and capital investment ... success required constant innovation and in the 1990s Clark's production moved overseas ...

- William Bryant & Francis May merchants who imported Swedish matches and started their own production in East London in 1861.
What was the 'real' value of a match? Does price depend on local gluts & queues? What was the 'real' value of the labour contribution? When price depended on local capacity to recruit, retain & reward? Why did the match girls strike in 1888? Adam Smith was a behavioural economist and explained loss aversion, opportunity costs & exchange prices ... way before the totally unrealistic mathematics of equilibrium which required an 'auctioneer' to determine prices! Smith suggested and understood that market forces didn't 'win' over social justice they were not alternatives but both were in the minds of folk with the same emotions as you and I. Free market capitalism was regulated by moral sentiments. And David Ricardo had explained international trade in 1836 ... but these concepts were mighty difficult to grasp ... especially for young match girls in East London ...

6 Science.

Quakers in science.

Peter Mathias described the industrial revolution as a process of experimentation not intention - 

'By and large innovations were not the result of the formal application of science, nor a product of the formal education system. Great determination, intense curiosity, quick wits, clever fingers, luck, capital or employment and a backer to survive the period of experimenting, testing, improving were more important in almost all fields than a scientific training'.

Later hard science provided the opportunity to experiment with ideas in the mind before testing them out in reality, however the persistent hard work of trial & error remained. The Quaker scientists worked hard on their experiments they were not 'exceptions'.

- John Dalton (1766–1844) chemist, the atomic theory of matter ... a British empirical scientist who did his experiments and learned.

- Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882–1944) astrophysicist, proved Einstein's theory of relativity.

- Thomas Young of the 'double slit' experiment ... he left the Quakers so he could study science at Cambridge and ended up with Quantum Theory.

- Francis Galton of eugenics was caught in a cleft stick, his science was not an embarrassment, it was spot on. But Francis Galton misunderstood his half cousin Charles Darwin. Eugenics and the idea of breeding for different genetic effects was correct science. The mistake was in the arrogance of trying to identify 'beneficial' behavioural traits in advance and interfering with the behavioural diversity of other human beings ... that was a moral question. 

- Joseph Lister (1827–1912) of antiseptic surgery ... of simple habits of hard work, honesty & thrift.

- John Fothergill (1712–1780) of Warrington & botany a physician & philanthropist and Friend of the Gandys

- Jocelyn Bell Burnell at Swarthmore in1989 -

'In Quakerism and science you must be completely ready to revise what you hold to be the truth; you always hold things provisionally, and you are always open to revising them'

- Joseph Crosfield (1792–1844) businessman, soap, chemicals and inevitable waste ... children were not educated concerning the benefits of the industrial revolution, as the dark satanic mills of conventional history submerged brilliant Port Sunlight soap and unbelievable productivity increases.

- Allen & Hanbury of Plough Court off Lombard Street & pharmaceuticals ... the funding for cancer research comes from the profits of the industry.

- Reckitt & Sons of household products ... wealth creation & economic growth result from the synergies of specialisation & scale.
Evolutionary biology was intensely economic. Politics always followed the economics, just as economics followed biology ... and for sure things get mighty complicated as it was feedback that resulted in the emergence of innovative change.
Creation of real jobs came from profitable business investments; the powers that be now offer prawn cocktails to get in on the act!

7 Food.

Quakers in food.

- Joseph Sturge, corn merchant ... economic justice is about staying alive, then all else is possible. but the corn merchants had no 'power' to set prices. If prices didn't clear the markets there were hideous added costs of gluts & queues which nobody could afford to pay. Cost of waste or storage and costs of turning customers away. Was rioting & blame of corn merchants understandable?

- Joseph Fry of chocolate ... luxuries when folk were dying? Or may be Joseph Fry produced jobs not chocolate ... a substitute drink for alcohol? Nobody could provide jobs without selling something. Real wages depended on output and mass production brought down prices, so the poor could enjoy luxuries. It is difficult to fathom these interactions as everything affects everything else and the 'Theory of Mind' boggles after a few iterations.

- George Cadbury (1839–1922) of Bournville, chocolateer. Famous business famous, famous demise.
Cadbury take over by Kraft in 2010 was about economics not national politics. I was a concerned Cadbury shareholder. Did shareholders put financial interests before responsible capitalism? They were not alternatives! A hostile purchase, but hostile to who? Kraft purchased my shares in an exchange at a market price under well honed legal procedures guided by competition & monopoly issues. The industry was in trouble, sugar was not only a old luxury it was also now a health hazard; reminiscent of the tobacco industry. The Schweppes diversification was also into sugar and didn't work. With Canada Dry and Dr Pepper the drinks business was overwhelmed by Coke & Pepsi. In 2002 the Adams gum business was purchased from Pfizer. The drinks business was sold in 2007 and it was announced that the Somerdale factory was to close and production transferred to Poland. Chewing gum was more promising but small. Rationalisation in a highly competitive global market was a sensible end game for sugar. Not only Kraft but also Hershey, Ferrero, Nestle and Mars were all interested parties. A prize for Kraft was chewing gum growth. This was not a national issue & not a monopoly issue, and hardly an emotional strategic public interest issue nor national treasure as Adams itself was an American purchase. Cadbury & Kraft were global companies in trouble.
Significantly important was that Cadbury's defence was that the business potential would not be fulfilled but subsumed in the sprawling Kraft conglomerate. Fortunately for shareholders this defence was a nonsense the Kraft plan involved splitting the company into focused units with Cadbury the star of the Mondelez confectionery business.

This was responsible capitalism and my family's financial interests were satisfied - 

Capital was moved to a new global project at Kraft which I judged had better long term profitability from better focused synergies of specialisation and scale.

Jobs were created in Poland where opportunity costs were lower. Changes in opportunity costs resulted in job losses in Keynsham and disappointingly I was attached for being irresponsible. Nobody commented on the new jobs in Poland and the new prospects for Cadbury chocolate customers around the globe.
John Freame would have been pleased his expertise lay in the selection & financial support of profitable projects.

- Joseph Rowntree (1801–1859) chocolate & education. A social reformer bewildered by strikes when 'them & us' didn't exist but the rich still got the 'blame'. Joseph Rowntree was an enlightened philanthropist who set up his trusts targeted at research & development into the underlying causes of evil. Moral & business education was clearly his priority while politics was sensibly eschewed - 

'I feel that much of the current philanthropic effort is directed to remedying the more superficial manifestations of evil, while little thought or effort is directed to search out their underlying causes.
I desire to supplement the funds appropriated for the support of lecturing staff in order that no lack of money should stand in the way of securing the best possible teaching. I do not think that the working of supply and demand will secure an adequate income for teachers. I should quite approve of educational grants being made to give money to secure highly qualified men and women of moral earnestness as Teachers.
It would be quite in accordance with my wish that control of a newspaper be conducted not with a view to profit but with the object of influencing public thought.
Ordinary subscriptions to political organisations will, I believe, be inexpedient.
There is the need to search out the under lying causes of evil - war, slavery, intemperance, land values, imperialism, Opium traffic, impurity and gambling.
The influence of the newspaper should also be on the side of religious liberty, Free Trade and economical government.
St. Mary’s
29th December, 1904'

- Huntley & Palmers, Carrs & Jacobs of biscuits.

- Hornimans of tea, monopolised by The East India Company and inevitably contraband flourished.

- Trumans of Brick Lane ... and Barclay, Perkins of the Anchor Brewery ... Quaker brewers! But beer was not all bad; it solved a problem of contaminated water and was a remarkably potent social lubricant ... the demise of the public house, and its regulation, considerably eroded social intercourse ... and the side effects were easily remedied by moderation spurred on by moral sentiments!

8 Banking.

Economic growth relies on an extensive interdependence of entrepreneurial activity, bolstered by the increasing role of science, and the necessary background of medicine & education for the health and productivity of the workforce. This interdependence was an organic, unplanned phenomenon which required a regulatory framework to mitigate its worst side effects. The Quakers were clear that economic activity was best regulated by religious morality. And much of that regulation was through peer review at the Meetings ... and from the bankers. Dissenters knew first hand of the hypocrisy and corruption associated by the heavy hand of regulation by the powers that be. 

Bank of England set up in1694 to lend to government was a smart move for the Quakers, a generous 8% interest was underwritten by taxation, not by a risky evaluation & selection of profitable projects. The idea that banks simply attract savers with low interest rate and lend out at high interest rates and pocket the difference misses the difficult truths about hard work, honesty and thrift.

 But long before 1694 the merchants were lending to cover the impossible gap in the supply chain and to keep solvent businesses going during the inevitable cycles. And, of course, the more interactions burgeoned, the more valuable was the payments system that the bankers offered to their customers. The wool merchants were on the ball in Leeds from early days; successful merchants made the obvious step into financial services.

Without the banks there would have been no industrial revolution. And without the change in the usury laws in 1624 there would have been no banks.

The 2008 crisis was educational. This was irresponsible capitalism and my family's financial interests were hit - 

The banks took stupid risks with other people's money ... crucially it wasn't their money anymore, they had no skin in the game, the issuance of private money had been stopped in 1844 with The Bank Charter Act, in was now Government fiat money. Furthermore the deposit guarantees had removed savers risk and due diligence became a thing of the past, why should I worry I have a Government guarantee. And the lenders risk had been removed firstly by Government subsidies to the housing markets and debt interest. And secondly by repeated Government bailouts of banks in distress.

Walter Bagehot anticipated the crisis in 1873 -

'a system of credit which has slowly grown up as years went on, which has suited itself to the course of business, which has forced itself on the habits of men, will not be altered because theorists disapprove of it, or because books are written against it. This was 'free banking', the natural system, which would have sprung up if Government had let banking alone'.

No wonder the John Freame banking system, eloquently described by Walter Bagehot in 1873, broke down. The system had lost touch with economic reality and the real rewards of hard work, honesty & thrift. Such were replaced by a monopoly of 'fake' fiat money and the printing press. No doubt intentions were honourable, but, for sure, regulation by moral sentiments was replaced by moral hazard. The whole rotten system was further exacerbated as accountants, auditors, stockbrokers, insurers and lawyers discovered that 'fake' money made it impossible to value assets and exchange deals became fraught as the measuring system became elastic! John Freame and 'solid' money had been usurped by Government bureaucrats and 'rubber' money ... economists were well aware of the problem, 'moral hazard' a system grew up which rewarded bad behaviour ...

- Lloyds of Birmingham, a centre for iron founding & metal fabrication. The Lloyds discovered a logical route from merchanting to banking. Some said it was easier to make money out of money than make money out of iron. This was not just a Quaker experience but perhaps an experience inherent in capitalism. But this was quite wrong as David Ricardo and his theory of comparative advantage explained ... it was in fact very difficult to make money out of money requiring considerable skill and hard work, honesty & thrift ... ask the Gurneys ...

- Gurneys of Norwich, like the Lloyds came to banking from success as merchants, which was far more common than the goldsmith route. On Black Friday 1866 Overend & Gurney went bust. Fraud, incompetence, luck, hubris after the Limited Liability Act of 1855 or factors beyond control ... or what? Walter Bagehot was clear -

'English capital runs as surely and instantly where is it most wanted and where there is most to be made of it, as water runs to find its level. The management of a business needs more than common industry and more than common ability. But there is no security at all that these will be regularly continued in each generation'.

and Paolo di Martino described the evolution of bankruptcy in 2005 ... and perhaps the Quaker network of culture loaded the dice of business risk towards hard work, honesty & thrift?  
The Gurney legacy like the Whittaker legacy was about the necessity of change & bankruptcy if the innovations of the industrial revolution were to prosper ... and how could any one actually stop them from prospering? ... the innovative pots & pans from Coalbrookdale were produced en mass, cheaply available, and they were better than the alternatives.

9 Culture. The communication process was greatly assisted by the arts ... I wonder if the Quakers were poor communicators, they had a wonderful message to sell?

10 Quaker System.

Capitalism was inspired by universal moral sentiments exemplified by the industrial revolution which slowly but surely spread throughout the globe. The Quaker system led the way but the teaching was left to Adam Smith and Charles Darwin ... maybe the economic science was too difficult because Smith & Darwin had considerable trouble getting the message across! The secret was hard work, honesty & thrift but the context was human interactions in an extensive network; a Complex Adaptive System best described by the most eminent of modern Quakers who barely gets a mention in economic text books ... why?

Kenneth BouldingKenneth E Boulding (1910–93) devote Quaker, economist, polymath, educator & Complex Adaptive System scientist.

Born in Liverpool. Graduated at Oxford University secured US citizenship in 1948. 1949-67 University of Michigan. 1967 University of Colorado.

Economics was the study of human persons & their relationships. An evolutionary approach to economics which confronted the neo-classical mathematical developments of equilibriums & self interested agents.

Economic behaviour was endogenous to a large interconnected system, a nested set of sets, an ecology. Understanding required scientific research & understanding of a Complex Adaptive Systems; the global society in which we all live.

All choices were endogenous to a system of common values. Adam Smith has strong claim to being both the Adam and the Smith of systematic economics, he was a professor of moral philosophy and it was at that forge that economics was made. Economics can claim to be a moral science from its origin. Nevertheless, for many economists, the very term 'moral science' will seem like a contradiction.

Economics was a cognitive science, a behavioural science, a mathematical science, a moral science, a social science & a political science, involving - 

empirical science - heuristics based on trial & error and learning.

experience & context - framing biases & cognitive filters - Mercantilism or Capitalism - intelligent design or evolution - loss aversion or profit seeking - herds & me toos or innovators - conspiracy or cock up - hubris & nemesis or catharsis - offensive bullets or defensive bullets - reference dependence or counter factual - linear or non-linear - synergies or theft.

emotional & rational choices - market inefficiencies result from the gluts & queues of price fixing or clearing prices have to be discovered they cannot be calculated.

Moral sentiments lay behind the four great virtues of 'ultimate good' and we all individually & collectively strive to achieve these -

individual freedom to experiment & associate to discover & accumulate 'know how' for

economic betterment to remove threats to synergies

social justice leading to synergies of specialisation & trade, immunity from parasites & predators and

conflict resolution leading to scale economies.

Bullet points for economic theory -

know how was the key factor of production together with energy & materials rather than land, labour & capital. All processes of production involved the direction of energy by some 'know how' structures in the brain (genetic & cultural) which manipulated energy flows toward the selection, transportation and transformation of materials into the product.

loss aversion rather than profit maximization was the driving force for economic activity. Fear of loss rather than the excitement of gain mediated behaviour. We spend time solving problems not maximising profits.

ignorance of the future as prediction was impossible due to complexity, change, conflict & scarcity. Complexity involved feedback and genuinely new emergence. Social systems had Heisenberg principles all over the place, so nobody could predict the future without changing it.

interconnected networks where everything depends on everything else ... top down command & control was physically impossible.

The message was not 'equality' but rather 'to see God in everyone' an empathetic celebration of diversity and its role in evolution.

Hideous complexity emerges from Complex Adaptive Systems as the 'simple' copy/vary/select process inexorably continues increasingly influenced by structures constructed under the guidance of human moral sentiments.

Kenneth Boulding and all Quakers should have been happy that evidence continued to mount in support of the vision of an evolving shebang & caboodle which led to Homo sapiens, not Homo economicus.

Quakers were dissenters, public life was not generally for them. Failures, all too often, were tainted and not generally accepted as opportunities for learning. And, of course, there were others, apart from Quakers with moral sentiments.

PhilanthropyKenneth Boulding was a giant amongst Quakers in public life, a scientist, where many experiments failed on the route to learning. Andrew Carnegie, from humble origins and of no religious affiliation, suggested an approach to poverty which reflected the Quaker ethos -

'surplus profits, after investments and unostentatious living, are best accumulated in trust funds and personally administered to secure, in his judgment, the most beneficial results for the community; for education and not for hand outs which made things worse, not better' ...

Philanthropy was all too often seen to involve profits from ill-gotten gains and was often resented and even hated; it was not generally accepted as a substitute for conventional education. But Quaker education emphasised endogenous moral sentiments revealed by introspection whereas the Church tradition tended to emphasise exogenous moral sentiments revealed by omnipotents.

Economic science distinguished clearly between endogenous and exogenous factors ... and Boulding explained that moral sentiments were endogenous to human activity systems.  

Philanthropy from businessmen naturally flowed into business education, most others it seemed didn't have the understanding to tackle the difficulties. The high hopes for understanding from the education 'establishment' never materialised. Conventional education was naturally channeled into the grandiose schemes of the elites of Church & State, which all to often included anti-business rhetoric & teaching ... in this way business education suffered a double whammy!

No wonder much Quaker philanthropy went into business education. Edward Hindley had a similar, if simpler, mantra for his grandchildren -

'education & compound interest'

Sally & AnnUnderstanding Complex Adaptive Systems was immensely difficult as they involved repeated interactions between folk and The Theory of Mind suggests us mortals have great difficulty cottoning on to more than a few iterations ... ask my wife ... she knows that I know that she knows that I know that she knows that this is true ...

Science and problem solving were never about political left or right, or big or small Government. Economic science was was all about 'know how' - and alternatives to industrial capitalism had exactly the same economic problems to solve -

unemployment - 'know how' accumulated at about 3% pa compound and folk stopped dying of starvation & disease; populations exploded. This was success, infant mortality dramatically declined. There was a trend in social animals towards less quantity (smaller families) and more quality ('know how') as familial teaching of social interactive skills was a long process even with the help of innate moral sentiments. Tempting parasitic & predatory alternatives were always around and participation in social interactions required a 'trade', a specialisation, a skill, an education.
The good news was that everybody was different and had different opportunity costs and therefore different employment opportunities. For sure during the industrial revolution manual labour was increasingly replaced by more productive machines. But more productive machines required more sophisticated 'know how' to be applied to capital. Adjustments to new complexity, new change, new conflict & new scarcity all required learning new 'know how' ... more flexibility and more learning skills. 

The voice of business was seldom heard amongst the global market clamour. Unemployment was a problem to solve. There were never ever no shortages of problems to solve ... just a shortage of 'know how' ... and the top of the tops problem was how best to educate the youngsters?

Perhaps, the industrial revolution in the cities didn't 'cause' poverty? All the urban trekkers clearly showed it was the prospect of jobs in the cities which attracted poor folk. Poverty was more severe in rural areas.

In his lectures at Glasgow University, Adam Smith had a go and founded economic science. Economics, education & 'know how' addressed global problems ... however inconvenient, science did not stop never at artificial national borders.

... and everyone knew problems that needed solving queued up?

... and every business man knew skill shortages and unemployment coexisted?

subsistence wages - real wages always depended on productivity; output per capita exploded. This was success. As productivity increased there was always always a relationship between supply & demand if costly & wasteful gluts & queues were to be avoided.

The voice of business men was seldom heard amongst the global market clamour; a price for wages was just like a price for money, it was impossible to arbitrarily fix clearing prices and those that tried through monopoly, cartel, conspiracy or decree always produced costly gluts or queues. Costly gluts & queues wasted scarce resources which could alleviate poverty and were morally repugnant.

Perhaps, the industrial revolution in the cities didn't 'cause' subsistence wages; real wages were determined by productivity not by evil intent, as all the urban trekkers clearly showed subsistence wages were much preferred to the famine & disease of the past.

Adam Smith explained supply & demand until he was blue in the face but everywhere and many folk tried to fix prices for selfish advantage but they simply created gluts and queues and reduced social interactions and associated synergies of specialisation & scale.

Just as there was an emotional instinctive bias for 'moral sentiments' there was also an emotional instinctive bias for 'loss aversion' and the interminable squabbles were always about who was going to pay for the costly gluts & queues. In economics there was no free lunch ... however inconvenient, efficient prices were a global problem, however inconvenient, trade did not stop never at artificial national borders.

... and everyone knew that real wages in Burundi were much lower than real wages in Manchester?
... and every businessman knew that if you paid higher real wages productivity went up?

scarcity, congestion, crime, pollution & waste, health & safety were big problems ... and science education & skill acquisition were big problems ...

 ... and every business man knew that science education & skill acquisition generated the 'know how' to tackle the problems!

Kenneth Boulding's teachings came from the Adam Smith forge and all the understanding that followed - Quaker economics, economic history, the 2008 crisis and 'creating money out of nothing' - sprang from that forge. If Adam Smith built the forge Charles Darwin provided all the energy.

Kenneth Boulding's legacy of economic history in a nut shell -

political history was of Bishops, Princes, Generals & bureaucrats & their 'power'. But power; 'Wars', 'Lords' & 'Land' were the old history of unproductive conspiracy theory ... the key factor of production was 'know how'.

economic history was of morality, trade & money. Adam Smith didn't start economic science until 1759 & 76, his legacy in economics was a theory of human interaction and social cooperation that was described in both 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' 1759 and 'The Wealth of Nations' 1776.

biological history was of social folk & sentiments. Charles Darwin didn't explain the origin of social animals until 1859 when he identified the origin of a social species 'homo sapiens' ... which was not a selfish 'homo economicus'.

genetic history was of chemical copy, vary, select. The scientific giants who inspired Kenneth Boulding and Richard Dawkins didn't receive popular acclaim until 1976.

moral sentiments were necessary for trust in exchange but persists in an ever expanding circle of moral progress which extends to altruism, compassion, charity & philanthropy ... both exchanges and gifts were part of modern economies.

However the exchange / gift dualism becomes blurred by the synergies of cooperation.

Is the sharing of meat after the big kill an exchange or a gift?

PS Ontology of Economics.

Why - ethics & science?

Faith was a capacity for empathy in social animals. Responses to emotions & instincts, including the moral cooperative neural circuits deep down in the skull, which nurture human empathy & social exchange.

Reason was a capacity for learning. Observation, mathematical theory, testable hypotheses, experimental validation, peer review resulted in robust evolutionary science which explained both empathy & learning.

Robust 'rules of thumb' & institutions emerged from social interaction. Economics was a science which was sustained by biology and was exploited by politics as folk experimented for betterment.

tit for tat social behaviour emerged which rewarded cooperation and punished cheats.

Tit for tat social learning emerged through language, persuasion & ostracism.

Why - money?

A capitalist view. Folk cooperative & exchanged 'trades' and secured synergies of specialisations & scale. Specialised 'know how' created income streams which were enhanced with economies of scale. Comparative advantage was the most momentous fact of social life where everyone had the capacity to cooperate.
Adam the Smith's pin factory was an example of harmonious exchange lubricated by money.

Why - coin clipping?

A mercantilist view. Parasites & predators stole property stocks. A zero sum game of 'nature red in tooth & claw'.
A discredited view because specialised 'know how' proved impossible to steal as it was learned behaviour; a productive outcome of hard work, honesty & thrift.

Why paper? social folk were exchanging promises; when there was generally accepted TRUST & CONFIDENCE in social cooperation underpinned by universal morality, a receipt from a reputable man was just as good and far more convenient than gold ... but there was always risk of default / bankruptcy and due diligence & caveat emptor were required ... until moral hazard reared its ugly head ... then nobody bothered ... would you but a second hand car from this man?

John Freame had a good system 3-6-3 of money production which served Adam the Smith's pin factory; and was described by Walter Bagehot & Kenneth Boulding.
John Freame money, his promise, was backed by profitable projects, it was not 'created out of nothing' which seemed to be a common misunderstanding ...

... money cannot be created out of nothing.

Different folk at different times in different places have different ideas and behave differently ... girls dance backwards ... celebrate diversity, the feedstock of evolutionary change.

Diversity in social animals is mediated by universal biology, innate empathy; Adam the Smiths 'moral sentiments' underpin the vast scale of human productive interactions.

Global social and economic interactions are so diverse it is physically impossible for any Nation State to mediate between them effectively through incorporation through regulation which stifles competition, bribes interest groups and commands & controls productive endeavour, in the name of unattainable solidarity, security & stability. Such hubris, never achievable, would stop evolution in its tracks. Insights from biology lead inexorably to understanding economics ... not in impossibly complex detail but as a process of change ... genes do cost benefit analysis.


QuakernomicsEnd note -

'Quakernomics: An Ethical Capitalism' by Mike King, 2014.

This history of the Quaker business men from Gadlys, Baptist Mills and Coalbrookdale was inspired by my own studies at Glasgow University and the Open University but also by a challenging book written by my friend Mike King. My commentary follows the first 154 pages of the book.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mike King's central point; the Quaker business success during the industrial revolution was an ethical capitalism which has since been eroded.

However I disagree wholeheartedly with Mike King's interpretation of Adam Smith’s economic science.

My studies suggest Adam Smith was a moral philosopher, his reputation for excellence at Glasgow University led to lucrative private tutoring work in France. In 1759 he wrote the must read ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ based on his lectures. While in France he was struck by the complete failure of Mercantilism to explain the industrial revolution in England. ‘The Wealth of Nations’ was written in 1776 to detail a general theory of cooperative economics as an alternative to selfish Mercantilism. These two books together brilliantly described the cooperative benefits of the industrial revolution and mass production in factories.

The mutual benefits of trade were explained in terms of the synergies of specialisation & scale AND the underpinning 'moral sentiments' without which interactive deals in the market place would be impossible -

1759 'Theory of Moral Sentiments'   - no trust, no cooperation = no deals !

1776 'Wealth of Nations'   - no deals = no synergy, no wealth creation !

Kenneth Boulding in 1969 -

'Adam Smith, who has a strong claim to being both the Adam & the Smith of systematic economics, was a professor of moral philosophy and it was at that forge that economics was made'.

Why did I stop reading Mike King's book at page 154? I agree with Quaker Kenneth Boulding; the output of Adam Smith's economic forge has been misunderstood.

... read all three books and let me john p birchall know what you think?


Robert Axelrod (1984) – ‘The Evolution of Co-operation’, Basic Books.

Richard Dawkins (1996) - 'Climbing Mount Improbable', Norton.

Matt Ridley (1996) – ‘The Origins of Virtue’, Penguin Books.

Edward O Wilson (1998) - ‘Consilience’.

Peter  Singer (2011) - 'The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution & Moral Progress', Princeton University.

Steven Pinker (2011) - 'The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity', Viking.

Sam Harris (2011) - 'The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values', Random House.

Mark Pagel (2012) - 'Wired for Culture: The Natural History of Human Cooperation', Penguin.

Geoffrey M Hodgson (2012) - 'From Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo Economicus', University of Chicago Press.

Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles (2013) - 'A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution', Princeton University.

'Darwin’s invisible hand: Market competition, evolution and the firm' by Dominic D P Johnson (University of Oxford), Michael E Price (Brunel University) & Mark Van Vugt (University of Amsterdam), Journal of Economic Behaviour & Organization, 2014.

'Adam Smith Behavioural Economist' by Nava Ashraf, Colin F Camerer and George Loewenstein, Journal of Economic Perspectives - Volume 19, Number 3 - Summer 2005.

'The Entropy Law and the Economic Process' by Georgescu-Roegen, 1971.


Any corrections and additional information gratefully received contact john p birchall

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