Jesse Norman and Adam Smith

This blog has a strong interest in the Enlightenment in all its facets, but particularly in Scotland. Adam Smith was one of the most important writers of the period whose works and thinking remain of the greatest importance, going beyond his historical epoch. In 2018, Jesse Norman published with Allen Lane his study Adam Smith: What he Thought, and Why it Matters . It was well and extensively reviewed. Amartya Sen commented in the book Norman “not only presents an excellent introduction to the life and ideas of Adam Smith, but also explains why–and how– Smith’s insights can help us solve some of the most difficult social and economic problems of the contemporary world.”  Simon Heffer’s review in The Spectator, for example, rightly emphasizes the extent to which Smith was a polymath and a student of human beings and society, not an economist in the modern narrow sense.

Cosmos and Taxis have just published a symposium on Norman’s book, with a response to the discussion of distinguished thinkers by Norman himself. It is well worth reading.