How the Right Got Adam Smith Wrong on the Eve of Environmental (and hence Economic) Catastrophe

I. The Libertarian/Right Wing Attempted Appropriation of Smith

Down in South Carolina, at the College of Charleston, Adam Smith Week is held every spring. We read on their website that it is “sponsored by the Initiative for Public Choice and Market Process (IPCMP) that was founded in 2008 with a generous gift from the BB&T Charitable Foundation and the Charles G. Koch Foundation.”

“Adam Smith is one of the most recognizable figures in economics, and his contributions to the fields of philosophy and economics are still relevant today,” says Pete Calcagno, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and Director of the IPCMP. “His concept of the invisible hand is considered the classic statement on laissez faire capitalism” (emphasis in original).


Meanwhile, over in the United Kingdom, there is a self-described “independent libertarian, free market think tank that engineers policies to create a freer, more prosperous world” which calls itself the Adam Smith Institute. Up in Michigan, Mark Skousen, organizer of the popular libertarian  “FreedomFest: Keep the Revolution Alive” conferences held yearly in Las Vegas, lectures to the students at the “Center for Constructive Alternatives” at Hillsdale College, that Adam Smith was basically a libertarian.  Skousen explains that his history of economic thought book, The Making of Modern Economics,  is organized around  judging how much all other economists either add to or subtract from this libertarian reading of Adam Smith’s position.[1]

Libertarian and far right-wing readings and attempted appropriations of Adam Smith are not new. For example, a generation ago, the highly esteemed University of Chicago economist George Stigler, in “The Adam Smith Lecture”, told the gullible National Association of Business Economists that,

“It is hard to believe that any task, no matter how great its magnitude, is so large that the market cannot deal with it, if it is capable of being dealt with by man.  Did not Great Britain in Smith’s time leave the governance of India, already a nation of several hundred million beings, to a corporation called the East India Company?  Was not the early economic development of Canada entrusted primarily to the Hudson’s Bay Company?” (1988: 7-8, emphasis in original)

What a bad Smithian joke. Certainly, according to Smith, you can let the governance of a great nation such as India be in the hands of a corporation: if you want mass starvation, a shrinking economy, and looting on a gross scale by management!

What is behind these narrow one-sided right-wing readings of Smith (or, in the case of Stigler, a certified economic Nobel Laureate, a crass misrepresentation of Smith’s views)? There are various causes which I have discussed in other publications (Pack, 1991; 2010). Yet, I think the most important cause or reason, is what Aristotle called the final cause or goal.  I believe this essential goal is to use the luminous legacy of Adam Smith to aid in the smashing of the liberal welfare state; the elimination of state rules and regulations which impinge upon the freedom of big business (or, as Marx would say, capital) to use its power and property completely uninhibited; and the brutal destruction of all labor unions. As John Kenneth Galbraith explained a generation ago, big government and big strong labor unions acted as countervailing powers to the power of big business. What I believe is happening is big business and its representatives are  currently using  Smith’s legacy as an ideological, persuasive tool in their well endowed fight to eliminate these potential countervailing powers. By the way: note that some of capital’s hired heads are no doubt simply cynical intellectual mercenaries striving to maximize their pecuniary income; but many others are indeed “true believers”.  Be that as it may, to the extent big business, capital, is successful in pursuing it goals of eliminating all countervailing powers, there will be continued stagnating and indeed lower wages for most U.S. workers (Pack 2009). There will also be ecological and hence economic chaos in the unfortunately all too seeable future as the manmade causes of destructive global climate change and global warming continue unabated.

The narrow one-sided libertarian and general right wing readings of Smith’s work also serve to cover up and obscure a more critical, radical side of Smith. This important aspect of Smith’s work  encouraged Karl Marx in his critique of political economy (Pack 2013).  It was also quite critical of what Smith called commercial society (or, what we may call capitalist society); it is this critical side of Smith that I will now discuss.

II. Smith on Taxation

Taxation in modern societies for Smith is necessary and a sign of freedom.  For Smith,  “Every tax, however, is to the person who pays it a badge, not of slavery, but of liberty.  It denotes that he is subject to government, indeed, but that, as he has some property, he cannot himself be the property of a master” (Wealth of Nations [WN], 808).  Smith was the son of a tax collector, and Smith himself became a tax collector after he wrote the Wealth of Nations:  that would be quite an odd position for Smith to acquire if he really was a libertarian!

As opposed to most libertarians and right wing economists, Smith was not in favor of regressive taxation or any attempts to redistribute income from the poorer to the economically more advantaged members of society. Taxes are needed to support the state, and they should be proportional, or actually slightly progressive.  Therefore, Smith calls a tax upon silver one of the most proper of taxes, since silver is a “mere luxury and superfluity” (683). Similarly, in discussing toll roads,  he recommends that when  tolls upon luxury carriages  be “made somewhat higher in proportion to their weight, than upon carriages of necessary use, such as carts, wagons, and etc. the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to contribute in a very easy manner to the relief of the poor …”(683). So, go ahead and tax the indolence and vanity of the rich.  Similarly, the government or its agents should estimate the imputed rent of a house and tax that, since “A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable.  It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expence not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion” (793-794). Or simply tax ground rents in general.  Frequently, rents are a form of income derived from the mere ownership of property, not from hard work. Hence, they are a worthy object of taxation: “A tax upon ground-rents … would fall altogether upon the owner of the ground-rent, who acts always as a monopolist …Both ground rents and the ordinary rent of land are a species of revenue which the owner, in many cases, enjoys without any care or attention of his own… Ground-rents, and the ordinary rent of land, are, therefore, perhaps the species of revenue which can best bear to have a peculiar tax imposed upon them” (795-796). So, unlike the contemporary right-wingers, Smith did not advocate taxing property income at a lower rate than non-property income. Indeed, other things being equal, property income should probably be taxed at a higher rate!

III. Smith was not a Dogmatic Proponent of Laissez Faire Capitalism

According to Smith, most of the government rules and regulations in his day were made by and for the benefit of the rich and powerful; it was these rules which Smith vehemently argued against. Yet, Smith was not necessarily against all government rules and regulations, particularly those designed to help the workers and the poor. Hence, “whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counselors are always the masters.  When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters” (142). Regulations favoring the workmen are always just and equitable – you will not find this thought in most libertarian and right wing writings. Moreover, again contrary to most of these interpretations, Smith was also not some kind of Burkean conservative. This is because the second key reason Smith argued against the government rules and regulations in his day is  they were archaic and outdated. Due to historical change, “Laws frequently continue in force long after the circumstances, which first gave occasion to them, and which could alone render them reasonable, are no more” (362). In his Lectures on Jurisprudence Smith told his students “it is absurd to preserve in people a regard for their old customs when the causes of them are removed” (529).

III.i Special Rules for the Financial Services Sector

As most of us  also realize today, special rules are needed to control the financial services sector. Indeed, this is the one area where Smith explicitly argued for price controls. He wanted limits on the maximum rate of interest; that is, Smith was in favor of usury laws and against usurers. Hence, “The legal rate, it is to be observed, though it ought to be somewhat above, ought not to be much above the lowest market rate. If the legal rate of interest in Great Britain, for example, was fixed so high as 8 or 10%, the greater part of the money which was to be lent would be lent to prodigals and projectors” (339). According to Smith, in the absence of price controls on the maximum rate of interest, or even if that rate is set too high, too much money would be lent out to people with poor credit risks or on risky projects. Note that if the U.S. had followed Smith on this issue, the current global great recession could not have occurred in its present form. Our current world economic crisis developed directly out of fraud and abuses in the subprime mortgage market: a market that in Smith’s view should not even have been allowed to legally exist!

Smith also gave detailed recommendations on the types of reserves banks must keep on hand to pay their creditors. The result of his recommendations would be that banks would be required to keep more cash on hand, thus cutting into their profit margins. Too bad for the banks!  Smith explains that “though this might no doubt be a considerable inconveniency to them, it would at the same time be a considerable security to their creditors” (44), i.e. their depositors who could more easily and securely withdraw their deposits during bank runs. Smith explains his general position on liberty with particular reference to the bankers:

“To restrain private people, it may be said, from receiving in payment the promissory notes of a banker, for any sum whether great or small, when they themselves are willing to receive them; or, to restrain a banker from issuing such notes, when all his neighbours are willing to accept of them, is a manifest violation of that natural liberty which it is the proper business of law, not to infringe, but to support.  Such regulations may, no doubt, be considered as in some respect a violation of natural liberty. But those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all government; of the most free, as well as of the most despotical” (308).

So the financial services industry  has the ability to endanger the security of the whole society and therefore should be subject to special regulations – in some ways things have not changed that much in the last 250 years! Smith then immediately proceeds to explain that “the obligation of building party walls, in order to prevent the communication of a fire, is a violation of natural liberty, exactly of the same kind with the regulations of the banking trade which are here proposed” (ibid). So here Smith also matter-of-factly states that there must be building and zoning regulations; again, not a libertarian position.

III.ii. Other Rules and Regulations

Smith was in favor of the government  providing “public works which facilitate the commerce of any country, such as good roads, bridges, navigable canals, harbours and etc.” as well as the post office (682). Smith approved of the government regulating the quality of money, as well as other important commodities such as woolen and linen cloth:  “Hence, the origin of coined money, and of those public offices called mints; institutions exactly of the same nature with those of the aulnagers and stamp-masters of woolen and linen cloth.  All of them are equally meant to ascertain, by means of a public stamp, the quantity and uniform goodness of those different commodities when brought to market”(25).

Smith advocated that the government set up tests of varying difficulty that people must pass to set up a trade, or become a lawyer, or a public official. In Smith’s view the result would be  “… the study of science and philosophy, which the state might render almost universal among all people of middling or more than middling rank and fortune” (748).  Given the apparent difficulties so many candidates for office in the U.S. (especially those of the Republican Party) have in mastering  even the barest rudiments of the theory of evolution, this could conceivably disqualify quite  a huge pool of potential candidates. For Smith, “science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition; and where all the superior ranks of people were secured from it, the inferior ranks could not be much exposed to it” (ibid.).  By enthusiasm, Smith referred to the followers of austere religious sects. Enthusiasm was a rather common derogatory term in the 18th century for the perceived excessive religious zeal and fanaticism of the early Methodists and other religious groups. It denoted ill-regulated or misdirected religious emotion by what we would now call puritanical or fundamentalist religious movements. Smith feared the religion of the poor, who were attracted to these fundamentalist Christian beliefs and values. For Smith these austere sects tend to be dangerous, and one needs to beware of “popular and bold though perhaps stupid and ignorant  enthusiasts” (741). Here is  another surprising example of how relevant Smith’s views may be to 21st century America!

Smith encouraged the production of scholars, since then teachers would be plentiful and cheap, and this again would encourage the teaching of philosophy and science.  Smith also advocated using the tax system to discourage things that he disapproved of. For example,

“Some leases prescribe to the tenant a certain mode of cultivation, and a certain succession of crops during the whole continuance of the lease.  This condition, which is generally the effect of the landlord’s conceit of his own superior knowledge (a conceit in most cases very ill founded), ought always to be considered as an additional rent; as a rent in service instead of a rent in money.  In order to discourage the practice, which is generally a foolish one, this species of rent might be valued rather high, and consequently taxed somewhat higher than common money rents” (783).

To be able to administer this tax, the government would need to have the power and ability to closely inspect the leases between landlords and their tenants; again, not something that libertarians and right wingers tend to advocate. Smith also advocated lower tax rates for things that he approved of, such as experiments (or what we might now call research and development) that might promote technological change (783-784).

IV  Character Problems

Smith was not really a small “d” democrat. The common people, the poor, the working class, are too frequently misled by the wealthy, especially the business class. Hence, “in the public deliberations, therefore, his voice is little heard and less regarded, except upon some particular occasions, when his clamour is animated, set on, and supported by his employers, not for his, but for their own particular purposes” (249).  So, the majority of people need to watch out that they are not misled by their business leaders in general, and their employers in particular!  One side of the problem is that workers tend to work too long and hard at boring, deadening jobs to have the time, ability, and practice in developing their critical faculties. Unfortunately, “The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur” (734).  As far as intelligence is concerned, it is use it or lose it! “He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become” (735). The workers also tend not to be able to enjoy taking part of any rational conversation; of conceiving proper sentiments and hence forming just judgments; they tend to become cowards; and each particular job or occupation tends to corrupt “even the activity of his body, and renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and perseverance in any other employment than that to which he has been bred” (735).  Such are the dire problems caused by overworking the working class.  Once again, we see here a side of Smith that is rarely stressed by our libertarian and right wing pundits!

The obverse to the workers are the landlords, what today we might call the idle rich. If the workers tend be become stupid and ignorant because of the difficulties of life, the landlords tend to become stupid and ignorant because their life is too easy. Hence, according to Smith’s distinctive socio-economic analysis:

“When the public deliberates concerning any regulation of commerce or police, the proprietors of land never can mislead it, with a view to promote the interest of their own particular order; at least, if they have any tolerable knowledge of that interest.  They are indeed, too often defective in this tolerable knowledge.  They are the only one of the three orders whose revenue costs them neither labour nor care, but comes to them, as it were, of its own accord, and independent of any plan or project of their own.  That indolence, which is the natural effect of the ease and security of their situation, renders them too often, not only ignorant, but incapable of that application of mind which is necessary in order to foresee and understand the consequences of any public regulation” (249).

Here is an excellent argument for high inheritance taxes, since inherited wealth tends to lead to a life of indolence, ignorance, and stupidity. Today’s idle rich of course, tend to have their wealth invested in corporate stocks and bonds rather than in land. Today this could align their short run interests more closely with the third business, mercantile class than was the case with the landlords in Smith’s society.

Yet, it is this third class or order that we really need to keep an eye on. On the one hand, the businessmen, the mercantile people, the capitalists, are merely tricky and clever. For example, “our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits.  They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people” (98). Hundreds of pages later Smith basically repeats himself that merchants “complain of the extravagant gain of other people; but they say nothing of their own” (565-566).

Yet, the problem is much bigger than mere trickery and cleverness. No; the essential problem is that in terms of government policy, the businesspeople are simply not to be trusted.  To pursue their own selfish interests, they will lie and mislead the people.

“As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have frequently more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen.  As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercised rather about the interest of their own particular branch of business, than about that of the society, their judgment, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every occasion), is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former of those two objects, than with regard to the latter.  …  The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to that of the public … to narrow the competition … can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.  The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention.  It come from an order of men … who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasion, both deceived and oppressed it (250, emphasis added).

So there you have it: our businesspeople, our capitalists, are full of sophistry.  They tend to lie to further their own narrow economic interests.  Again, the insight of Smith, as applied to 21st century America is appallingly apt.  Who is lying more to further their own narrow economic interest at the expense of the general public: our financial services industry? our pharmaceutical and health services/health insurance industry? our food processing industry? our fossil fuel industry?  Hard to say.

V. Problems with Managerial Capitalism

Smith was actually quite disdainful of corporate managers. As the late John Kenneth Galbraith, one of the few people who has called attention to this side of Smith pointed out,  Smith quite likely would have been appalled at our managerial capitalism (1987: 71).  So, for example, in discussing  the East India Company, Smith writes of “all the extraordinary waste which the fraud and abuse, inseparable from the management of the affairs of so great a company, must necessarily have occasioned” (596). Managers also have a tendency to rack up enormous expense accounts since “The directors of such companies, however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own.  Like the stewards of a rich man, they are apt to consider attention to small matters as not for their master’s honour, and very easily give themselves a dispensation from it.  Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company” (699-700). In discussing the South Sea Company Smith wrote that “they had an immense capital divided among an immense number of proprietors. It was naturally to be expected, therefore, that folly, negligence, and profusion should prevail in the whole management of their affairs” (703). Later, in returning to the East India Company Smith comments that “the great increase in their fortune had, it seems only served to furnish their servants with a pretext for greater profusion and a cover of  greater malversation” (709 ). By  malversation, Smith means, of course, misconduct. Sometimes the professional managers will even be supported in their crookedness and plundering of the corporation by the owners themselves: “it might be more agreeable to the company that their servants and dependants should have either the pleasure of wasting, or the profit of embezzling whatever surplus might remain, after paying the proposed dividend of eight per cent … The interest of those servants and dependants might so far predominate in the court of proprietors, as sometimes to dispose it to support the authors of depredations which had been committed, in direct violation of this own authority” (711). That is to say, the managers may be supported in their wastefulness and their thefts by the board of directors, so long as the managers provided a minimum rate of return.  Once again, we see the remarkable prescience of Smith to 21st century America. As Smith would have predicted, we do seem to have a severe problem with our overpaid managerial class, whose individual members have an unfortunate tendency to be deceitful, fraudulent, cheating liars!

VI. The Undue Influence of Businessmen on the Government

Yet, what really concerned Adam Smith was the undue influence of businessmen and hence their short run narrow interests, on government policies. In railing against the policies of his day, Smith wrote, “it cannot be very difficult to determine who have been the contrivers of this whole mercantile system; not the consumer, we may believe, whose interest has been entirely neglected; but the producers, whose interest has been so carefully attended to; and among this latter class our merchants and manufacturers have been by far the principal architects. In the mercantile regulations … the interest of our manufacturers has been most peculiarly attended to …” (626). Or again:  “It is the industry which is carried on for the benefit of the rich and the powerful, that is principally encouraged by our mercantile system.  That which is carried on for the benefit of the poor and indigent, is too often, either neglected, or oppressed” (609). As in Great Britain in the 18th century, we have a huge problem in the 21st century:

“The monopoly which our manufacturers have obtained against us.  This monopoly has so much increased the number of some particular tribes of them, that, like an overgrown standing army, they have become formidable to the government, and upon many occasions intimidate the legislature.  The member of parliament who supports every proposal for strengthening this monopoly, is sure to acquire not only the reputation of understanding trade, but great popularity and influence with an order of men whose numbers and wealth render them of great importance. If he opposes them, on the contrary, and still more if he has the authority enough to be able to thwart them, neither the most acknowledged probity, nor the highest rank, nor the greatest public services, can protect him from the most infamous abuse and detraction, from personal insults, nor sometimes from real danger, arising from the insolent outrage of furious and disappointed monopolists” (438).

Such is the problem now. Our business interests are turning our government into the political services industry. Our politicians, our political managers are selling favors to the highest bidder. Those few who oppose them are indeed vilified by the business interests, either the businesses themselves, or their surrogates in the media, right wing foundations, think tanks, centers, “initiatives”, etc. In Smith’s views, we have a problem with “… the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers. The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient evil, for which, I am afraid, the nature of human affairs can scarce admit of a remedy.  The mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected, may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquility of anybody but themselves” (460 emphasis added).

There you have it. Merchants, manufacturers, in a word capitalists should not be the rulers of mankind. Yet, to the extent they or their hired representatives are ruling us, one may expect major league problems. By rapacity Smith of course means the taking by force, plundering, greedy, ravenous. Others have noted the tendency for laissez faire capitalism to attack the social structures which support society, leading almost necessarily to either social welfare reforms, or else fascist or communist or socialist revolutions (e.g. Polanyi 1944; Schumpeter 1942; also Pack 1987). Today, the most shocking, destructive manifestation of this is that parts of our business leaders and their paid surrogates, particularly those in the fossil fuel industry, have been successfully attacking natural science itself, and the scientists themselves. For decades these scientists have had the effrontery to point out that the earth’s climate is changing, and that change is caused by humans, especially by the burning of fossil fuels. So science and scientists themselves are vilified, and discredited by the fossil fuels industry and their paid surrogates. Phony debates are staged with pseudo scientists denying climate change.  These pseudo scientists are funded by the business sources (see e.g. Oreskes and Conway 2010).  Meanwhile, the earth continues to heat up, the ice caps melt, the ocean waters rise, the storms become more violent; our Gulf and Atlantic coasts are savaged.  And our fossil fuels industry continues to rake in their destructive profits.

VII  Conclusion

It is quite clear that Adam Smith was no libertarian. The right wing narrow interpretations of Smith do not do him justice. They miss the radical, critical side to Smith, the side of Smith that warns us to beware of our managers; beware of our mercantilists; beware of our capitalists. In this age of large complex corporations, how do we control our private and public managers and our large corporations? And how do we control the deleterious influence business has on government today? These are the salient Smithian questions for contemporary society.  So here is the irony; or actually the developing, worsening  tragedy. The very people that Smith warned us against: the merchants, the capitalists, their managers and representatives, are wrapping themselves up with a Smithian cloak.  They are using a simplified caricature of Adam Smith himself, to further their own narrow, greedy, rapacious, short run interests. They seek to destroy the liberal welfare state, destroy labor unions, destroy all countervailing powers to their own outsized abilities to do as they please, at the public, and indeed, the rest of the world’s expense.  I say their short run interests, because if they have their way, there will not be much of a long run future here on planet earth for human civilization.  For Adam Smith’s sake, but even more for our sake, and our children’s sake, we should not let these people get away with this misguided misappropriation of Smith’s legacy.


[1] Information on the above can be found at the Adam Smith Week, College of Charleston; Adam Smith Institute; FreedomFest; Hillsdale College; and Mark Skousen websites.  A bit to my own surprise, I gave invited presentations at both Adam Smith Week and FreedomFest in the Spring and Summer of 2011.


Galbraith, John Kenneth (1987) Economics in Perspective: A Critical History, Boston:  Houghton Mifflin.

Oreskes, Naomi and Conway, Erik M. (2010), Merchants of Doubt, New York:  Bloomsbury Press.

Pack, Spencer J. (1987) “Schumpeter Plus Optimism Equals Gilder (Ceteris Paribus)”, History of Political Economy 19(3): 469-480.

Pack, Spencer J. (1991) Capitalism as a Moral System:  Adam Smith’s Critique of the Free Market Economy, Edward Elgar (Paperback edition 2010).

Pack, Spencer J. (2009) “John Kenneth Galbraith’s New Industrial State 40 years Later”, in Radical Economics and Labor:  Essays Inspired by the IWW Centennial, edited by Frederic S. Lee and Jon Bekken, Routledge.

Pack, Spencer J. (2010) Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx:  On Some Fundamental Issues in 21st Century Political Economy, Edward Elgar.

Pack, Spencer J. (2013) “Adam Smith and Marx”,  in Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, eds. Christopher Berry, Maria Paganelli and Craig Smith, Oxford University Press.

Polanyi, Karl (1957) The Great Transformation:  The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, Boston:  Beacon Press.

Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1950) Capitalism Socialism and Democracy, 3rd edn, New York:  Harper and Brothers.

Smith, Adam (1937) An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations, edited, with an introduction, notes, marginal summary and an enlarged index by Edwin Cannan, New York:  Modern Library.

Smith, Adam (1978) Lectures on Jurisprudence, eds. R.L. Meek, D.D. Raphael and P.G. Stein, Oxford University Press.

Stigler, George (1988) “The Adam Smith Lecture:  The Effect of Government on Economic Efficiency”, Business Economics 23(1):  7-13.


 Spencer J. Pack is a Professor of Economics at Connecticut College, New London, CT



Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

By Melvyn Dubofsky: Does Organized Labor Have A Future?

By Bill Fletcher, Jr: Now What? Labor Unions and the Inevitability of Class Struggle

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