Krach hazardního hráče

San Francisco – Od Adama Smithe (1776) až zhruba do roku 1950 považovali ekonomové kapitál za naprosto nezbytný pro hospodářský růst. Zapotřebí bylo rovněž několika dobrých základních institucí. „Bezpečnost majetku a snesitelná správa spravedlnosti,“ jak se vyjádřil Smith.

Když byly tyto zásadní instituce v pořádku, pak měli statkáři, obchodníci a výrobci investovat a zdokonalovat se. Investováním a zušlechťováním měli rozhojňovat množství kapitálu: „Ve všech zemích, kde panuje přijatelná bezpečnost [majetku], se každý člověk s obvyklou soudností vynasnaží využít veškerý objem [kapitálu], jímž vládne, aby si zajistil buď přítomný požitek, anebo budoucí prospěch… Naprosto šílený musí být ten, kdo tam, kde je přijatelná bezpečnost, nevyužije veškerý objem, jímž vládne, ať už je jeho vlastní, anebo vypůjčený od jiných lidí…“

Větší množství kapitálu mělo znamenat tučnější trhy, propracovanější dělbu práce a plodnější hospodářství. Právě vysoce produktivní společnost založená na důmyslné dělbě práce byla způsobem, jak zajistit „bohatství národů“.

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