How can an 18th-century Scottish philosopher and economist help us understand the digital economy and our modern, hyper-connected world? That’s a question I’m tackling in a series of three essays at libertarianism.org. Digital technologies have increased our connectedness in profound ways. In the first essay I examine how Smith’s ideas about specialization and exchange combine … More Adam Smith and the Digital Economy: Connectedness and Gains From Trade
Understanding the economy as a dynamic, complex system relies on the foundational work of several economists, including Adam Smith (of course) and Ronald Coase. As Coase observed in his 1991 Nobel Prize address, What I have done is to show the importance for the working of the economic system of what may be termed the … More Coase’s influence on economics, and Adam Smith’s influence on Coase
Jill Lepore, a professor of history at Harvard and writer for the New Yorker, has written a critique of Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation that is worth thinking through. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (the dilemma is for firms to continue making the same decisions that made them successful, which will lead to their downfall) … More Critiquing the theory of disruptive innovation
Lynne Kiesling For the past few months I’ve been working with some talented and creative folks at Northwestern University Academic Technologies to produce some videos for use in my History of Economic Thought course. Over the next few weeks I’ll be releasing them here, and they will be available on my Vimeo page. Please distribute … More Course video 1: Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments
Michael Giberson “Get the prices right!” was the rallying cry of some economists in the aftermath of the break up of the Soviet Union. Don’t plan the transition, stop planning and let markets sort it out. Similar advice goes out to developing economies around the world. Don’t ease your way to liberalization, throw open the … More Adam Smith opposes “shock therapy” for developing and transitioning economies
Lynne Kiesling I mentioned a while ago my working paper on the neuroscience research on mirror neurons and its relevance for Adam Smith’s theory of sympathy developed in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). After revision and some extremely helpful referee guidance, the paper has been published in The Review of Austrian Economics: Mirror neuron … More Adam Smith and mirror neurons paper published
Lynne Kiesling Increasingly I agree with Deirdre McCloskey that over the past 120 or so years economics has moved further away from incorporation of the importance of the Bourgeois Virtues into our analyses of economic decision-making and economic growth. Indeed, I claim that ignoring the effects of virtue on individual decision-making is one of the … More Adam Smith symposium: Smith as virtue theorist?