I want to feature a favorite law firm blogger of mine.
Mr. Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq.
Here’s an article he wrote recently comparing Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson
and then referring to our favorite subject: law firms.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
No, I’ve been a fan of Hamilton (1755—1804) ever since I first began studying the economic history of the US, and Hamilton had it all: Illegitimate child, immigrant, soldier, lawyer (member of the New York bar), economist, co-author of the Federalist Papers, founder of the Bank of New York, proponent of the notion that New York, not Washington, be the Capitol of the new nation (a well-intended but misbegotten notion—business and governmental capitals fundamentally don’t get along), Treasury Secretary, and ultimately martyr to his own sense of honor, killed across the river from here in Weehawken in a duel with Aaron Burr. (Although the circumstances of the duel are much disputed, the most authoritative biographer of Hamilton, Ron Chernow, concluded that Hamilton fired first, missing Burr on purpose [his shot hit a branch over Burr’s head] but that Burr took deliberate aim.)
And did I mention that my alma mater Princeton must to this day rue its refusal to accommodate Hamilton’s request in his admission application that he be allowed to study at a quicker pace and graduate in an accelerated period of time? Columbia accepted his request and today Hamilton Lawn separates Hamilton Hall and John Jay Hall on Columbia’s Frederick Law Olmstead-designed campus a mile north of here. A pity.
Now, readers regular or occasional must know that Adam Smith, Esq. is resolutely nonpartisan and nonpolitical, but occasionally an essay that could be viewed as espousing a political view is so worthy of attention that we can’t resist. David Brook’s column a few days ago in the Times, “The Role of Uncle Sam,” is such an occasion.
Brooks contrasts the Hamiltonian tradition of what the government’s role in the national economy should be with the Jefferson-Jacksonian tradition. This has indeed been the great debate in the history of governmental intervention in the economy. Since you already know that I’m firmly in the Hamiltonian camp, you are at liberty to take what follows with a grain of salt, but I always endeavor to be objective and fair:
|Primary government unit of interest||federal||state and local|
|Government role||cautious, constrained and limited||energetic, open-ended, and evolving|
|Priorities||long-term structural development, infrastructure, education, R&D||short-term security|
|99%/1%?||interests of capital and labor are harmonious in the long run||haves and have-nots|
|Time horizon||you eat in the long run||you eat today|
|What works||innovation, experimentation, and entrepreneurship—”we’ll see”||what’s worked in the past, with a gloss of “experts know best”|
|Spending priorities||on the unproven, the promising, and the future||on the incumbents who have the power|
|Economic policy should protect||competition||competitors|
One of the more conspicuous clashes between Hamilton and Jefferson the individuals (as opposed to the philosophies) came when Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury and Jefferson Secretary of State. Over Jefferson’s strenuous opposition, Hamilton estabished the country’s first national bank.
Now, we may seem to strayed a long way from LawFirm Land, but bear with me….
The rest of this article is great.
Check it out here.