Chapter 135 – Adam Smith, Economist

James Hogg and I sit on a bench with The Royal Mile stretching to our right and left, with the Palace of Holyrood lying at its foot and Edinburgh Castle at its head. An excellent location to discuss five Scottish geniuses, who changed the world.

“Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy in 1723.”, I explained to James.

“Have you studied him thoroughly?”, asked James.

“Emelia bought me his collection of five books, ‘The Wealth of Nations’, and they are intriguing.”

“So what’s his most important lesson?”

“In Adam Smith’s day, countries hoarded gold, installed trade barriers, protected industry, exported to fill their coffers and restricted imports. Cities and towns stopped artisan crafts and trades entering their boundaries, ensuring their guilds had monopolies. They thought local, acted local, restricted freedom of labour movement and shunned the outside world. Thus constraining their wealth.”

“So Smith turned this upside down?”

“Yes, Adam Smith was an economist and philosopher, arguing the ‘invisible hand’ of free trade would create the optimum wealth for everyone. This open market, radical thinking, changed the mindset of politicians, and formed the bedrock for the last century of economic expansion and industrial revolution.”

“And if you were to sum this up?”

“James, we must think globally, act globally and prosper globally.”, I said, “Now onto one of his great friends.”

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