“a system under which bad men can do least harm”

Don Boudreaux has a feature on the Cafe Hayek blog, where he presents a daily quote from an economics text.  Here’s one on individualism, which seems to predate and improve upon Ayn Rand a great deal.  I didn’t know there was a word for what Adam Smith  was into, other than “economics.”

Sounds Familiar

Their own distress… they called the distress of the country; and this distress of the country, they said, was altogether owing to the ignorance, pusillanimity, and bad conduct of the banks, which did not give a sufficiently liberal aid to the spirited undertakings of those who exerted themselves in order to beautify, improve, and enrich the country. It was the duty of the banks, they seemed to think, to lend for as long a time, and to as great an extent, as they might wish to borrow.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (p 216)