Adam Smith and the Trajectories of Global Capitalism

20 October 2008, 17:00 - 19:00

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane

Mishko Hansen   (PhD candidate, Judge Business School, and former Hedge Fund Manager)

Adam Smith is one of the most influential and yet most misrepresented thinkers of all time. He is often taken to be the original theorist of capitalism, a proponent of laissez-faire economics in which the "invisible hand" leads to societally optimal outcomes and, as one recent commentator put it -- a proponent of "greed is good".  Read alone, The Wealth Of Nations can easily be misinterpreted. However, Smith’s earlier masterpiece, The Theory of the Moral Sentiments, not only provides a different set of ideas from those present in The Wealth of Nations, but also casts his economic work in a completely different light. Indeed, when viewed from this wider perspective, Smith's thought points in radically different directions from "business as usual."

In this seminar I want to argue that Smith's thinking shows deep ambivalences about economic growth, consumption, and concentrations of financial power, and that he has much to say about economic life and human well-being which is relevant both to responding to the ongoing crisis in financial markets as well as making a future transition to a sustainable global economy possible 

Suggested readings: TBC

Followed by drinks at "The Anchor"


Theme for  2008/09:  "The Moral Economy?"

Part of Business and Society Research Group

The  Group aims to provide an interdisciplinary forum for researchers investigating the cultures of capitalism and the social and ethical dimensions of organizations, business, and economics.