The Kennedy-Webb Colloquoy on Liberty and Private Property: Want to make it a Seminar?

by Bruce Webb

Scottish Professor Gavin Kennedy is the blog-proprietor of ADAM SMITH’S LOST LEGACY and a new (and continuing?) contributor to Angry Bear, most recently with Spare Us From the Invisible Hand. In an earlier post by Gavin Adam Smith in a Broader Legacy I responded to one of our regular Angry Bear glibertarians and rather than disrupting Prof. Kennedy’s thread further took it to my own post at the Bruce Web Adam Smith and Glibertarianism which in turn led to some back and forth between Prof. Kennedy and me on ASLL and the Bruce Web with two posts from Gavin and two from me including Marx, Smith and the Ages of Man.

The discussion was initially about the development of private property and its relation to both liberty and rising consumption/population levels as that is seen developed in the works of Adam Smith. In the course of the discussion it appears that Prof. Kennedy and I have radically diverging views not only on the underlying nature of pre-historic, ancient and some current economic modes of production but also on how those resolve themselves in the conceptual conflict of ‘liberty’ vs ‘democracy’.

It is all rather a departure from the more numeric analysis typical of Angry Bear, but for those interested in history, economic history in relation to modes of production, the economic and philosophical thought of Adam Smith feel free to jump in at either or both sites. In an upcoming post I am going to add some discussion of ‘democracy’ as it relates to the development of English Land Law, where the latter was marked in large part by its suppression of the former. Hints so far are that Prof. Kennedy and I are coming at this last question from totally different perspectives. Which may reflect fundamental differences between the British historical view of democracy and that expressed in the American Declaration of Independence. We’ll have to see how it goes.

Got ideas to share?