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Would Adam Smith have approved of the NHS? Noble prize winning
economist Amartya Sen seems to think so.
"The most immediate failure of the market mechanism lies in the
things that the market leaves undone. Smith's economic analysis went well
beyond leaving everything to the invisible hand of the market mechanism.
He was not only a defender of the role of the state in providing public
services, such as education, and in poverty relief (along with demanding
greater freedom for the indigents who received support than the Poor Laws
of his day provided), he was also deeply concerned about the inequality
and poverty that might survive in an otherwise successful market economy.
Lack of clarity about the distinction between the necessity and
sufficiency of the market has been responsible for some misunderstandings
of Smith's assessment of the market mechanism by many who would claim to
be his followers."