Economic Policies for Contemporary Markets: Restyling Adam Smith’s Legacy for Our Times

Winter Quarter, 2017

Thursday afternoons, 12:45–2:45 p.m. , Norris University Center

D. Economic Policies for Contemporary Markets: Restyling Adam Smith’s Legacy for Our Times Robert Coen, Professor Emeritus of Economics

Thursday afternoons, 12:45–2:45 p.m. , Norris University Center

Adam Smith founded modern economics with publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776. His persuasive arguments for economic freedom, competitive markets, and limited overnment won the minds of liberal social thinkers of the day, and they continue to shape contemporary discussions of economic and social policy. But Smith could not foresee the complexity of today’s markets. Modern economists have had to adjust their conception of human behavior and economic interactions, now casting doubt on Smith’s most famous dictum -- that leaving markets unregulated is the best way to achieve economic efficiency and prosperity. The lectures will review Smith’s ideas and times and then examine selected current-day markets to see how they differ from the simpler markets of Smith’s era, revealing why a hands-off approach is usually unsatisfactory in principle and rarely followed in practice.

Links to the three chapters from past Economic Reports of the President:

ERP 2002, chpt. 6 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERP-2002/pdf/ERP-2002-chapter6.pdf

ERP 2010, chpt. 6 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERP-2010/pdf/ERP-2010-other-7.pdf

ERP 2010, chpt. 7 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERP-2010/pdf/ERP-2010-other-8.pdf

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