Books Podcast: Jesse Norman and how to properly appreciate Adam Smith

26 July 2018 4:29 PM

Adam Smith is the most quoted and misquoted economist of all time. But was he the prophet of devil-take-the-hindmost neoliberalism, or the heroic enemy of cartels, monopolies and stitch-ups? To try to get him in the round, I’m talking in this week’s podcast to Jesse Norman, author of the new Adam Smith: What He Thought and Why It Matters (reviewed in last week’s Spectator by Simon Heffer). Norman argues that we can only understand Smith in the round by reading his Theory of Moral Sentiments as well as the Wealth of Nations; and by putting him in the context of the Scottish Enlightenment and the thinkers such as Hume who surrounded and influenced him. But he also says that a proper appreciation of Smith’s thought has relevance for us right to the present day. And he even ventures a thought on what the Sage of Kirkcaldy would have made of Brexit.