Great Antidote Extras: Jeremy Lott on Comics, Adam Smith, and More

art comics

Christy Lynn for AdamSmithWorks

Jeremy Lott talks about his hopes for his kids, finding meaningful projects, his favorite projects, and lots of Adam Smith. 
In addition to several works on the AdamSmithWorks website, Jeremy Lott has also written a novel about William F. Buckley Jr.’s faith, multiple childrens books, and comics. Now he’s got his first time as a guest on the Great Antidote podcast. As you might expect, the conversation ranges widely. 

Sellgren’s signature opening question gets Lott to open up about what he wants for his children: a love of learning, confidence, and moral restraint. Lott and Sellgren move to talking about what it means to be a generalist and a multi-medium creator. Sellgren also asks about Lott’s favorite work of his own, a piece called, “You Don’t Know Jack.” There’s a brief dialogue about the process of creating Adam Smith comics and how to pay for and get paid for creative work (in addition to writing for us, that is). 

But there’s more to Lott’s thinking on Adam Smith than just the comics. Lott talks about Smith’s best known work on explaining the benefits of the division of labor: 
[Smith] opened up with a division of labor. That's how he opens up the Wealth of Nations. It's an extended argument about the division of labor and how important that is. I don't think that was entirely unique to him, but he punched it so hard and so long that he made the point and it really had an effect on policy in a lot of different areas. My colleague Ryan Young argued that the reason though that Smith was successful, as someone who we care about, is because what underlied all of his observations was this idea of empathy. That economics isn't just a study of numbers, it's a study of how humans work together and how they can do it better. And that if he hadn't been a very close observer of human nature he would not have been able to produce that result. (Lightly edited)
Lott also talks about an important but less known Smithian idea:
[T]he story of the name of your podcast. He talks about how science is the great antidote to superstition, but these days it's also an antidote to a lot of other things. I think you've done a good job to make that more well known, but I think that that's not a thing that he had been known for before you started punching it. (Lightly edited)
(Sellgren is quick to point out that the comic referencing the title of her podcast, “Science is the Great Antidote” is clearly her favorite.)

Lott references the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Open Market blog series on Adam Smith several times, you can find that here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.  

Lott and Sellgren also talk about the similarities of working on visual mediums like comic books and children’s books. They close with what Lott would go back and tell his younger self: Stop being a punk and hating on delicious mushrooms. 

You can listen to the whole podcast here and find links to the AdamSmithWorks comics Lott has worked on below: 

Let us know what your favorite comic is and what Adam Smith quotations you hope will be comic-ified in the future. 

Related Great Antidote episodes
David Epstein on Range (& related Great Antidote Extra)
James Otteson on What Adam Smith Knew  (& related Great Antidote Extra)
Russ Roberts on How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life
Dianne Durante on Innovators in Sculpture (& related Great Antidote Extra)
Sarah Skwire on Pro Market Literature and Feminism (& related Great Antidote Extra)
Radio play of Duane Kelly’s Enquiry Concerning Hereafter, Part 1 and Part 2