About Smith and Hayek

Why SmithHayek.com? See my explanation here.

Adam Smith, 1720-1790, is the father of modern economics. (Wikipedia article)

My favorite quotes: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.” The Wealth Of Nations, Book I, Chapter II, pp. 26-7, para 12.

“By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.” Book IV, chapter II, paragraph IX of The Wealth of Nations.

More Adam Smith quotes can be found here. A TV special on him ran February 27, 2011. Russ Roberts was interviewed on a Cato podcast about Adam Smith on or around March 9, 2011. Mark Skousen discussed the centrality of the phrase “the invisible hand” in Smith’s thinking in The Freeman Online on March 9, 2011.

Friedrich Hayek, 1899 – 1992, was one of the most influential modern economists.

For more information: Biography in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Wikipedia article. Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F.A. Hayek, by Bruce Caldwell at Amazon.com. And just about every link imaginable at Taking Hayek Seriously.

My favorite quote: “The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.” Hayek, Friedrich A., “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” 1945. Library of Economics and Liberty. 31 January 2011. http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw1.html.

For a wide range of posts on Hayek and his relevance for modern economics see Cafe Hayek. Bruce Caldwell of Duke University talks about Hayek in an excellent podcast on January 11, 2011 on EconTalk from the Library of Economics and Liberty.

Picture credits: Hayek from Wikimedia. Smith from Wikimedia.

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