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Adam Smith Project - An Introduction

An endeavor to cut through the noise of rising protectionism to look at the real dynamics impacting global trade.

By: Hayes Howard
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Photo: Heartland Arts/Shutterstock
   The growing sentiment for protectionism worldwide is as worrisome today as it was in 1776 when Adam Smith wrote those words of caution in “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.” Governmental regulation of both domestic and international trade is growing exponentially, often without “suspicious attention” to the motivations of those proposing new rules and regulations, or “most scrupulous” attention to the consequences of doing so.
   Never a businessman as one might suppose, Adam Smith was a professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He became a keen observer of the real world of commerce moving through the ports of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Best known today as a ferocious proponent of free trade, he was ever the pragmatist, a British nationalist at heart, and an advocate of protectionism at times.
   The world of commerce today is much more complex than it was in 1776 when Adam Smith published his inquiry, better known today as simply “The Wealth of Nations.” What would Adam Smith have to say if he were teaching and writing today? We can only surmise the answer.    We have chosen the “Adam Smith Project” moniker for all those in government, agriculture, manufacturing, labor, finance and transportation who can set aside self-interest when they consider policy. That’s even as we realize, as did Adam Smith, that self-interest is necessary in decisions they are called upon to make in conduct of global production and trade.
   We encourage all to move beyond rhetoric and look at facts, just as Adam Smith looked at the real world around him and wrote. We will try to do the same.

Hayes H. Howard, Publisher