Saturday, July 21, 2007

Remembering Adam Smith

Art Diamond writes a Blog:, and he reports on his pilgrimage to Kirkcaldy:

Many years ago, we took the train from Edinburgh to spend a few hours in Kirkcaldy, the birthplace of Adam Smith. I was surprised at how little there was to honor Smith in the town where he was born and raised. There was a small cafe/theatre named after Smith. A small crystal shop sold some shot glasses with Smith's image engraved on them. And there was a small plaque, above a no-parking sign, on the main street, at the spot where Smith's family home had been.

I remember asking a very polite young father with two or three small children in tow, why there was so little of Smith in Kirckaldy [Kirkcaldy]? With a twinge of something like regret, he said that everyone in that part of Scotland supported Labor, and they saw Smith as supporting capitalism, and so did not like him much

There’s a lot more going on now, with more to follow. The local college in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes (an adjacent new town) has been amalgamated and re-named ‘Adam Smith College’. Under its far-sighted and energetic Principal, Adam Smith College is seldom out of the news for long.

In near-by Edinburgh, a project led by the Adam Smith Institute, to erect a 20 foot statue of Adam Smith, in a prime position opposite the building where he worked a Commissioner of Customs from 1778 to 1790, facing down the High Street to where he lived at Panmure House and further down to where he is buried, is slowly coming to fruition.

This will be completed for an opening ceremony in mid-May 2008, attended by the British Head of State. It is also likely that there will be an international conference on Adam Smith at the time of the event, Lost Legacy will keep you posted on any and all developments, and you can keep up to date by visiting the Adam Smith Institute web site.

In this respect I should mention that the Adam Smith statue project, as you would expect, has been made possible by private donations only and without any tax payers’ money. With the recent slide in the US $, there is a need (and a request!) for more donations from anywhere in the world to cover contingencies. If anybody can help please with small or large donations, email:
The next project should be to restore Adam Smith’s grave site the nearby Church yard or the fabric of Panmure House where he lived with his Mother, Margaret Smith (nee Douglas) and his cousin, Janet.

I think the anti-Smith feeling in Kirkcaldy, when Art Diamond visited the town years ago has diminished considerably. When the College was given its new name, there was a the usual noise from a small group of leftwing students, but it sputtered out to nothing as the majority rallied round Adam Smith’s name.
With Gordon Brown, the local Kirkcaldy MP, and now Prime Minister, and a known advocate of his version of Adam Smith, it is can now be accurately stated that it is no longer the case that ‘everyone in that part of Scotland supported Labor’ and ‘so did not like him much’.


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