Commerce, morality, equality, the rule of law, and the role of government… Welcome to the world of Adam Smith.

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Speaking of Smith


Smith and Aristotle on Owning and Giving

Richard Gunderman for AdamSmithWorks April 10, 2024 Any social system that foments greed at the expense of the generosity is ruining individual human lives and those individuals' communities.

Matt Mitchell on the Realities of Socialism in Estonia

Matt Mitchell with Julliette Sellgren April 12, 2024

Tyler Cowen on the Greatest Economist of All Time (GOAT)

Joy Buchanan for AdamSmithWorks Competition is good, right? Buchanan looks at who the top contenders are in the battle to discover the great economist of all time (GOAT) using Tyler Cowen's book with generative AI.

Great Antidote Extras: Brent Orrell on Dignity and Work

Kevin Lavery for AdamSmithWorks The work world changes rapidly and what young people need to navigate it changes too. Lavery gives us the highlights from Brent Orrell's guest spot on The Great Antidote.

The Great Antidote: James Otteson on What Adam Smith Knew

March 18, 2022


An Animal That Trades

A five-part short video series on the life and contemporary relevance of Adam Smith.


David Hume’s Protestant Ethic

Erik W. Matson for AdamSmithWorks David Hume believed Puritan attitudes contributed to the commercial spirit of England. Hume anticipated Max Weber’s focus on the Protestant ethic but also differed from him. "Protestant convictions gelled with concurrent developments... The combination gave rise to both the spirit of the age and its material consequences." Wednesday, March 27, 2024

What’s Natural about Adam Smith’s Natural Liberty?

Daniel B. Klein and Erik W. Matson for AdamSmithWorks The first essay in our NEW series takes a close look at Adam Smith's language and the implications of those choices for understanding him and the world he is describing. "Smith often said simply “liberty” but sometimes “natural liberty.” Why did Smith sometimes say “natural liberty”? Maybe he wanted to highlight its “naturalness.” That prompts the question: What is “natural” about Smith’s “natural liberty”?" March 23, 2022


Division of Labor Toolkit

Tackling the division of labor in your classroom? Let us help you start with Adam Smith.

Teaching through the Year: Seasonal Readings and Activities

We're making it easy for you to find seasonally relevant ways to bring Adam Smith and his ideas into your classroom.

Activity: Commerce and care

A comic strip to spark discussion of Adam Smith's "the butcher, the brewer, and the baker", and of how our care for each other is affected by money.


The Theory of Moral Sentiments

The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first and in his own mind most important work, outlines his view of proper conduct and the institutions and sentiments that make men virtuous. He develops his doctrine of the impartial spectator, whose hypothetical disinterested judgment we use to distinguish right from wrong in any given situation.

Scholars’ Portal

How to Join the Portal

The ASW Scholars’ Portal is an online work-and-gathering space for Smith scholars. Its features include:

  • ability to upload working papers for comment, and to comment on others' papers
  • online open-discussion forum
  • ability to create and contribute to collaborative documents such as reading lists, annotated bibliographies, and a "Smithopaedia"
To be considered for access to the portal, please contact us with your ideas and CV at