A White Bear on the Free Market – A Videodiary

In 1776 – the scottish moral philosopher and free thinker Adam Smith, proposed the theory of the free market. The idea was, that the free market should be able to make even the beastliest of bears within humans, work for the common good and for the wealth of the nation.

Since then crises’ of the market have come and gone, and in july 2011,  at the height of one, this inner bear, went to Smiths cradle of free trade; Glasgow, where Adam Smith lived and taught.

Here it resided in the local Contemporary Arts Centre; CCA wherefrom it ventured out to meet up with local scholars, artists, capitalists and more, and  get a new perspective on humanity, bears, money and their crises.

The history of the free market is one of letting loose ones beast. That is of course interesting for any white bear from the back of the mind.

From July 1st – 23rd, therefore, the white bear will be in Glasgow to study the history of this beastly market. A market that seems to have been invented here by the Scotsman Adam Smith in 1776.

The first entry from the white bear’s journey onto the free market. Here, the white bear goes to New Lanark, a Unesco world heritage site and a historic industrialists Utopia – where it seems that adam Smiths idea, that the division of labor can bring more prosperity to more people, was taken very literally. The white bear also thinks about boredom, Candide and the taxpayers money.

In july 2011, a white bear went to Glasgow, Scotland to study the origin of the free market, and it’s first thinker: Adam Smith.

As with any important theory, this theory has undergone plenty of misuse and misinterpretation over the years.
Adam Smith, the socalled father of Capitalism, re-edited and republished his “Wealth of Nations in 1776, 1778, 1784, 1786, and in 1789. Even after his death, new and clarifying versions kept, and keeps appearing. This is only the fourth version of a post in the white bear diary; A post about capitalism, it’s misunderstandings and about language that cannot express our intentions precisely.


On the day that a new South-Sidanese state was declared, the white bear went to the orange marches and speculated a bit about nationality, true colour and the history of “Celtic” and Rangers” – whose fans represent each their side of a complicated conflict.

The presence of “Rangers” and “Celtic” has been estimated to be worth 120 million pounds to the scottish economy.

Diary from a white bear in the free market: In July 2011 the white bear went to Glasgow, Scotland, the birthplace of the free market, that was invented here on 1776, by the moralphilosopher, Adam Smith. This post in the white bear diary is about a brief meeting with blogger John McKlintock and the economy of attention in the brave new world of 2011.

On the day of Primidi, month of Messidor, in the french revolutionary year of 219 a white bear went on a one day highland detour.

A detour away from Glasgow, the historical birthplace of the free market, that it had come to Scotland to investigate,.

On route it pondered over time-economy, decimalized money, measurements, and the
immeasurable depths of the Loch Ness.

Here it also dwelt on matters of certain knowledge mystery and monsters below the surface of even the most rational systems.

The white bear has an appointment with the furdressers and a wee chat with a professor of political theory about Adam Smiths pretty little idea about “society as a mirror”

The white bear has an appointment with the furdressers and a wee chat with a professor of political theory about Adam Smiths pretty little idea about “society as a mirror”

In 1776, the famous Glasvegan moralphilosopher, and inventor of the free market, Adam Smith wrote that:

” It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. ” Adam Smith/ Wealth of Nations,1776

But scottish dinners are not the same in 2011 as in 1776 of course – and when the white bear, in 2011, went to Glasgow to study Smiths free market, it also met up with a local vegan; Ellie Harrison, whose feeding habits could be an potential challenge to the carnivorous perspective of both white bears and Smith’s selfish butcher..

After some challenging weeks on the free market – the white bear visits the final resting place of it’s first theorizer: Adam Smith.

Here it takes a moment to quitely ponder over new beginnings, warm fur and history’s frozen tundras.

Kindly supported by:

Diary installation: Toves Galleri – Contemporary Workoutspace 19.05 – 26.05 – 2012

A year after the safe return from the free market, the economies of the world are still wobbly – and the white bear is still in doubt what to make of it.

In May 2012 nevertheless it presented it’s confusion, in a video-diary from it’s journey, and in an artgallery in the shopping arcade “Toves Galleri” in Copenhagen.

Toves galleri is a  run down, bankrupt halfempty arcade; a kind of monument of economic crisis – and seemed to be an appropriate melancholic setting for an investigation of sympathetic idea that seems to have failed in it’s mission to bring dinner to all of Scotland.



“A Farewell to the Free Market” – Dinner-invitation

Before the white bear returned to the back of the mind – it invited the gentle people of Glasgow for a dinner and a Farewell.

Invitation: A Farewell to the free market:
-in the Creative lab – CCA, Sauchiehall street 350, 22nd. July – 2011, 5-7 pm

”it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Adam Smith in ”An Enquiry Into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations” from 1776

So, what Adam Smith seems to say is, that when it comes to supplying dinner to all of

Scotland, humanity is an over-estimated idea and thus, It was not just our humanity, that in 1776 was supposed to make sure that there would be dinner enough for all of Scotland, but rather perhaps each our own selfinterested beast.

Now I am such an inner beast, I am a white bear that has been stuck on minds since 1863, when the Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoyevskij put it there with a cunning mind experiment: Dostoyevskij proposed, that one should “try and set oneself the task, not to think of a white bear, and the cursed thing would come to mind every minute”.

In 2009, however, I took things into my own paws, and managed to come out of the head I was in and from the 1st-23rd of July 2011, I have been on this historical free market-place called Glasgow, to study this relationship between inner beasts, dinner and the wealth of nations.

On July 22nd, I will take the responsibility of being a dinner-distributing beast very literally and host a farewell-reception where I will share a bite to eat with you. A bite, that is off course obtained, by addressing myself to the self-interest of local butchers, brewers and bakers.


The White Bear