Skousen is the founder and producer of FreedomFest, an annual conference held in Las Vegas and billed as the world’s largest gathering of free minds on liberty.
To think that Adam Smith, the renowned absent-minded professor, hid a little “invisible” secret in his tomes is indeed the ultimate irony.
Here in the United States most colleges and universities have a goodly number of “neoclassical” economists with a free-market bent. (There are a number of “free market” colleges and universities in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, a topic I shall pursue in a future column.) The American schools include the University of Virginia; the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Florida State University; and the University of Chicago.
In his third and final volume on John Maynard Keynes, Robert Skidelsky comes to the shocking conclusion that the Keynesian revolution was temporary, that Keynes's General Theory was really only a “special” case, and that “free market liberalism” has ultimately triumphed. This is all the more amazing given that Lord Skidelsky has spent the past 20 years of his professional career studying Keynes and resides in Keynes's old estate, Tilton House. Few scholars would have the guts to repudiate the theory of the man they adore.
Adam Smith, that is. Having just completed writing a history of economics, I have concluded that, despite the protestations of Murray Rothbard and other detractors, the eighteenth-century moral philosopher and celebrated author of The Wealth of Nations deserves to be named the founding father of modern economics.
Walk into any bookstore and you'll usually find two or three dictionaries of economics. Like any scientific discipline, economics has its own insider terminology, schools of thought, and famous experts. If you haven't taken a course in economics, you may need a reference guide when a writer uses the term externality, liquidity preference, Laffer curve, or Keynesian economics.
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