Adam Smith: What He Thought and Why It Matters by Jesse Norman MP

  • Monday, 2 July, 2018
    18:00 - 19:30

Adam Smith is now widely regarded as ‘the father of modern economics’ and the most influential economist who ever lived. But what he really thought, and what the implications of his ideas are, remain fiercely contested. Was he an eloquent advocate of capitalism and the freedom of the individual? Or a prime mover of ‘market fundamentalism’ and an apologist for inequality and human selfishness?  Or something else entirely?

Jesse Norman MP’s book shows how, far from being a doctrinaire ‘libertarian’ or ‘neoliberal’ thinker, Smith offers an evolutionary theory of political economy, which balances the roles of markets and the state. Norman gives us not just a new interpretation of Smith’s economics, but of his vastly wider intellectual project and argues, indeed, that Adam Smith can be regarded as one of the founders of modern social psychology and behavioural theory.

He spoke about his new book and in conversation with Andrew Bailey, Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority.