Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Student’s Joy…

Somena woman’ writes in Somena Media (HERE) (12 December) that she has ‘lucked out’(?) which, presumably, means it was her lucky day:

1 Exam Down - 1 to Go

Just wrote my European History final exam. I lucked out. 1/3 of the marks were devoted to an essay that I got to write about Adam Smith. Since I've been a devotee of Smith's for a decade, I really enjoyed writing about that. It was fun.

Next up - Canadian History prior to Confederation

I share her joy.

I am less concerned with what she learned about Adam Smith (I fear the worst!) than that she has read about him, but, perhaps, she has been tempted to delve into, even read, some of his Theory Of Moral Sentiments or Wealth Of Nations.

A hint of her thinking shows in her advert for ‘anti-big government' T-shirts…

Also, if her tutor put a question about Adam Smith into her exam, then it follows they are teaching about him too.

I hope they use as background a decent biography, such as the definitive scholarly text by Ian Ross, The Life of Adam Smith (1995; Oxford University Press).

The best ‘popular’ (in the nicest sense) biography, is James Buchan’s, Adam Smith and the pursuit of perfect liberty’, (2006: Profile Books), which I endorse fully for its measured accuracy and sympathy with what Adam Smith was about.

For a students, who prefer a short summary, the very best is Eamonn Butler’s: Adam Smith – a primer, (2008; Institute of Economic Affairs), which summarises Adam Smith’s political economy as he intended it to be taken (disclosure: I wrote an introduction for it).

The more students who read about the authentic Adam Smith the better – in my humble opinion.



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