A Biography of Adam Smith

  The Celebrated Adam Smith By Murray N. Rothbard (Originally published as chapter 16 in An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Vol. I, Edward Elgar Press, 1995; Mises Institute, 2006. Sources on this chapter.) Part 1 – The mystery of Adam Smith Part 2 – The life of Smith Part 3 – The division […]

Rights and Responsibilities

by DAVID BOAZ JANUARY 1, 1994 A journalist asked me recently what I thought of a proposal of self-styled communitarians to “suspend for a while the minting of new rights.” How many ways, I thought, does that get it wrong? Communitarians seem to see rights as little boxes; when you have too many, the room gets […]

Natural Rights and the Moral Foundations of Libertarianism

by  GEORGE H. SMITH Part One: MAY 28, 2013 Libertarianism does not say how we should live our personal lives; it merely says that if we choose to interact with others, we should do so by voluntary means. And it goes on to apply this basic social imperative to the political sphere by following a procedure that […]

The Man of System

Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments included this short passage on two distinct ways of seeing the world: the natural and harmonious view of spontaneous order and the “man of the system,” who sees society as something he can manipulate and mold “ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.” The man whose […]

Justice and Beneficence

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first book, he explored human motivation and morality—with conclusions that contradict the common but unfair characterization of him as a cold-hearted economist. In this excerpt, Smith explains why benevolence is desirable but justice is essential not just to to civil society but also to how we measure our behavior […]