Activity: Commerce and care

moral philosophy adam smith for high school self interest butcher brewer baker

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.
“Bellringers” are classroom tools that help set the tone or introduce a topic in the classroom. Adam Smith Works bellringers use quotations from and activities based on the work of Adam Smith, allowing you to illustrate the long history of the ideas you will explore in your classroom by grounding them in great books. 

Bellringers are presented as slides ready to pull and use in your classroom. You can find speaking notes and links to more information on each slide. 

This activity takes ten minutes.

Slide deck: Activity—Commerce and care

Using a printout of this comic (available here), or the attached slides, ask your students to discuss with a partner for ten minutes:

Does the fact that people receive money for their work mean that they can't care about the people they work for?
What are alternatives to how money affects the way that producers treat consumers in the market?
What are some examples of "care work" that we pay people to do? Do you think the money makes that work less caring? Should we pay them more or less because of it?

This comic is part of a series of Adam Smith Works original comics. You can see its original release, with suggested related resources, here.

This comic is based on Adam Smith's passage about the butcher, the brewer, and the baker. You can see the quotation in context as part of the full online text of Wealth of Nations here. Use the "Find" feature in the left-hand menu to search for the first few words in the quotation and see it in context. 
Read more about the quotation at the OLL Entry. You may choose to share this piece with your students following their discussion. Do they agree or disagree with the explanation provided?