Michael Waugh

Liberal Wages (The Wealth of Nations, part 7)

2009

Ink on mylar

31" x 22.5"

This drawing uses the first 9 chapters of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, the seminal 18th century book describing capitalism. Smith’s book is Utopian, a hopeful text written before capitalism was in full bloom, as such. One of the famous ideas of Smith’s is that no regulation of any type would be needed to ensure that a mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services would take place, since an “invisible hand” would guide market participants to trade in the most mutually beneficial manner. In the manner of his age, this invisible hand is conceived of in terms that are simultaneously scientific and religious. However, Smith didn’t take a whole host of human failings into account that might actively prevent the “invisible hand” from functioning. The men in these drawings are crew athletes from Harvard and Yale; beautiful and privileged, the hand that helps these men is not invisible, it is human.

Courtesy of the artist and Schroeder Romero, New York.

Michael Waugh

Offences Against One's Self

Offences Against One's Self

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