Real Adam Smith

Ideas That Changed The World

Season 1, Episode 2 of 2

Ideas That Changed The World, second in the two-part series of The Real Adam Smith: A Personal Exploration by Johan Norberg, takes a closer look at the "father of modern economics," who lived in the 18th century among horse-drawn carriages, sailing ships and trade that was greatly limited and riddled with corruption. Yet, Adam Smith envisioned a world of free trade among ethical, honest businesses and recorded his revolutionary ideas in two remarkable books: The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. Those ideas changed the world. Smith was a Scotsman, a moral philosopher, a bold voice of the Scottish Enlightenment and the world's first economist. His ideas about global free markets set the stage for the great 19th century era of free trade and even today's economic expansion. But in today's seemingly ruthless competitive environment, where the stakes are high and winning is the name of the game, can ethical and honest businesses still prosper? How does globalization benefit anyone? Noted author, economic analyst, and Cato Institute Senior Fellow Johan Norberg talks with some of the most distinguished Adam Smith scholars, as well as leaders of eBay and Whole Foods to discover how Smith's ideas continue to be relevant and drive the world's economy today. Aboard the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the largest container ship in the world, Norberg witnesses the incredible scale of world trade first hand. Norberg visits Toulouse, France for the final assembly of a new Airbus A380 illustrating Smith's insights on the division of labor's ability to generate wealth. At the University of Chicago, Chinese students study Smith's ideas to better understand how China became capitalist, and in Washington, DC, Norberg shows what happens as cronyism triumphs over the free market, a condition that troubled Smith in his day. Ideas That Changed The World examines 21st century businesses benefiting from Adam Smith's 18th century ideas.

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