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22 September 2010

Cable follows The Staggers and cites Adam Smith

Business Secretary adds reference to economist as suggested by the New Statesman.

By George Eaton

In my blog this morning, I suggested that Vince Cable’s criticisms of capitalism owed more to Adam Smith than they did to Karl Marx.

Smith, the apostle of the free market, noted, for instance, that “the interest of the dealers in any particular branch and trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from and even opposite to, that of the public”.

So I was pleased to see the Business Secretary follow my lead and insert a reference to the Scottish economist into his rapturously received conference speech today.

The text issued last night read:

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Why do directors forget their wider duties when a fat cheque is waved before them? Capitalism takes no prisoners and kills competition where it can.

But the version delivered by Cable this lunchtime read:

Why do directors sometimes forget their wider duties when a cheque is waved before them? Capitalism takes no prisoners and kills competition where it can, as Adam Smith explained over 200 years ago.

Perhaps Vince read The Staggers over breakfast this morning?