Smith vs Keynes

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How can John Maynard Keynes be compared to Adam Smith? Both of these men are considered to be the molders and theorizers of the economic era, yet they were very different in their theories and ideas. It takes more than a pretty face to identify an individual as the “father” of a particular subject, but considering the fact that economics was not even an area of study prior to Adam Smith’s contribution, it is easy to say that he, in fact, is the “father of economics.” Smith was a wide-ranging social philosopher and economist whose masterwork, The Wealth of Nations, is one of the most influential studies of Western civilization. It was right after the publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776 that the study of economics was born. It was Smith who presented economics as a discipline of its own, laying the framework of free market that still holds true today. Smith believed that market prices and quantities should be allowed to change and adjust to their “equilibrium” levels without the government getting involved. Consequently, Smith was opposed to the system of mercantilism where the government exerted a lot of control over the economy by regulating production and trade in order to bring back gold and silver. Smith therefore felt that the wealth of a nation lied in the hands of individual people, and that if the government backed off and allowed individuals to make economic decisions on their own that the nations wealth would increase. After spending time in France with the Physiocrats, he began to advocate the theory of laissez-faire, which basically required government to stay out of trade and let prices naturally change. Smith believed that if people promoted their self-interest, led by what he called an invisible hand, they would ultimately maximized their personal contribution to society and the economy. Along with Smith’s major contributions to the social economy, he also gave political advice. A highly respected philosopher during American colonial...
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