One year ago, FEE president Lawrence Reed appeared on a half-hour show on Canadian television called “The World Show.”
In this episode, Reed joins host Bob Scully to focus on Adam Smith and his importance to the world as an economic thinker. In a 2008 article for The Freeman, Reed argued that “Smith displayed an understanding of government that eclipses that of many citizens today” when the latter wrote:
It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense . . . . They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.
“The ideas of Adam Smith exerted enormous influence before he died in 1790 and especially in the nineteenth century,” Reed wrote. “America’s founders were greatly affected by his insights. The Wealth of Nations became required reading among men and women of ideas the world over. A tribute to him more than any other individual, the world in 1900 was much freer and more prosperous than anyone imagined in 1776.”