Report considers economist Adam Smith’s guide to life, loveliness, and the modern economy

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Upon the 300 year anniversary birth year of legendary economist Adam Smith, the Competitive Enterprise Institute today published a collection of essays exploring Smith’s remarkable views on life, loveliness, and (of course) the economy.

“Adam Smith offered the world a vision of liberalism, free markets, and empathy that offers hope to a 21st century world besieged by populism and authoritarianism,” said CEI Senior Economist Ryan Young, editor of the compilation.

The body emphasizes core qualities and thoughts of Smith that many people probably have not heard:

  • The most important aspect of Smith’s motivations was empathy – figuring out how people get along with one another and together create more wealth.
  • Happiness was more important to Smith than economics. Wealth is good because it enables people to pursue meaningful lives and make deep connections with each other.
  • Smith’s insights into human nature apply to a wide range of today’s policy debates. His emphasis on cooperation over conflict, on bottom-up discoveries over top-down diktats, and on optimism and progress, can make for a calmer, more humane political environment.

Essay authors include John Berlau, CEI senior fellow and director of finance policy, the late financial economist Christopher Culp, CEI President Kent Lassman, Senior Fellow Iain Murray, founder Fred L. Smith, Jr., Research Fellow Stone Washington, and Senior Economist Ryan Young.

Read the full study Adam Smith’s guide to life, loveliness, and the modern economy.