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Monday, March 2, 2015

Individual Enterprise is Free Enterprise not Corporate enterprise

I've made my reading project to read through 12 volumes of works by Alexander Hamilton. This has already yielded dividends. One argument I have is with those libertarians and conservatives who confuse individual initiative with corporate initiative. During Hamilton's time there was a clear distinction. Alexander Hamilton said this about Corporations, referring to the model for modern conglomerates, the "East India Company" in 1795:

"The European intercourse with Asia is, in most cases, conducted by corporations or exclusive companies, and all experience has proved that in every species of business (that of banking and a few analogous employments excepted), in conducting of which a competition shall exist between individuals and corporations, the superior economy, enterprise, zeal, and perseverance of the former will make them an overmatch for the latter; and that while individuals acquire riches, corporations engaged in the same business often sink their capital and become bankrupt." The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 6: []

When Adam Smith and Hamilton talked of "free enterprise" they were talking about individual freedom, not corporate freedom.

I may revisit this article in the future. But I saw this quote and wanted to share it.

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