CRF Blog

Rescuing Adam Smith from myth and misrepresentation

by David De La Torre

In Rescuing Adam Smith from myth and misrepresentation, The Economist reviews Adam Smith: Father of Economics by Jesse Norman.

Some readers will find Mr Norman’s busting of Smith-related myths to be the book’s most satisfying theme. Contrary to what is often assumed, the Scot did not advocate ruthless self-interest. The very first sentence of “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” reads: “How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.”

Smith’s notion of the “invisible hand” is also misunderstood. [more]

For a free lesson on Adam Smith, see Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations (23:1:07). It is available from  CRF’s Bill of Rights in Action Archive.