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Adam Smith

Adam Smith (June 5, 1723 – July 17, 1790) was a Scottish moral philosopher often regarded as the “father of modern economics”. His magnum opus, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) had significant influence during the Scottish Revolution and became a powerful starting point for the classical economics movement. Smith’s work reflect such ideas as the sufficiency of the price mechanism to operate as an invisible hand in the economy, properly steering the allocation of scarce resources; the division of labor as a tool to stimulate productivity; and rational self-interest in a free market system as sufficient for economic success.

Fun Fact: At age 14, Smith entered the University of Glasgow and studied moral philosophy under the tutelage of Irish philosopher Reverend Francis Hutcheson.

To learn more about the ideas proposed by Smith and other economic luminaries, apply for a Summer Seminar!

 

Adam Smith: The Invisible Hand

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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