RUSS ROBERTS
How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

 

 

I take the ideas in Smith's little-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and apply them to the modern world—lessons for work, family, friendship, and how to live the good life.

“A great book. Makes you feel better about life, humanity, and yourself. Like having a conversation and a scotch with Adam Smith, or even better, Russ Roberts."

—NASSIM TALEB, author of The Black Swan



RECENT

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The Speech I Wish Obama Had Given

(This piece appeared on Forbes.com on 1/23/09)

President Obama is eager to attack the economic crisis. Here is the speech I’d like to hear from him.

My fellow Americans, these are fearful times. READ ARTICLE »



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How to Move the Economy Forward?

(This piece appeared on Forbes.com on 11/20/08)

President-elect Obama announced the other day that the government would do “whatever it takes” to revive the economy. READ ARTICLE »



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Paulson’s Faulty Imagination

This article appeared on NPR.org on 11/14/08

Secretary Paulson might be the only person in America who worries that consumers haven’t borrowed enough money. He says the consumer credit market has “ground to a halt.” He wants to get it going again — maybe if we all just buy enough cars and use our credit cards, the economy will come back to life.

READ ARTICLE »



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Don’t Just Do Something. Stand There

(This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on 10/31/08)

People ask me if the current mess feels like 1929. But the right comparison is 1932, when Herbert Hoover was desperately trying anything, anything at all, to get the economy going. The stock market had crashed. The economy was starting to follow it down. So what did Hoover and his fellow policy makers do? READ ARTICLE »



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How Government Stoked the Mania

(This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on October 3, 2008)

Many believe that wild greed and market failure led us into this sorry mess. According to that narrative, investors in search of higher yields bought novel securities that bundled loans made to high-risk borrowers. Banks issued these loans because they could sell them to hungry investors. It was a giant Ponzi scheme that only worked as long as housing prices were on the rise. But housing prices were the result of a speculative mania. Once the bubble burst, too many borrowers had negative equity, and the system collapsed. READ ARTICLE »



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Organic Market

(This article appeared on Forbes.com on 9/18/08)

The collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG, have led to an inevitable call for more regulation. Obama promises “real” regulation. McCain will “reform Wall Street.” READ ARTICLE »



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The Bear Stearns Debacle

This commentary aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on March 25, 2008. Audio is here.

Wall Street is all about profit. All about the bottom line. And profit does play a major role in making our world go round. Without profit, there’s no point in taking risks. Without risk-taking, there’s no investment. Without investment, there’s no growth. Profits are the cornerstone of our economy and our way of life. READ ARTICLE »



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Selling Anchovy Ice Cream

This commentary aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on February 20, 2008. Audio is here.

A friend of mine told me the other day he’s planning to vote for John McCain. Why? Because McCain promises to keep the Bush tax cuts and my friend thinks that a good idea. READ ARTICLE »



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The Science of Stimulus

This commentary aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on January 16, 2008 in response to much talk about the the need to create a stimulus package to avert a recession. Audio is here.

Love that word—stimulus. It sounds so scientific. With the right stimulus, you can even make the leg of a dead frog twitch. A heart attack victim gets the stimulus from those chest paddles and bam. Back to life. My online dictionary defines stimulus as something that “rouses or incites to activity.” Sounds like the perfect prescription for an ailing economy. READ ARTICLE »



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Sunny Side Up

This commentary aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on December 26, 2007. You can listen to it here.

I know the economic news doesn’t seem very cheerful these days. But a lot of it is blown out of proportion, stories and subplots designed to scare us, told by politicians and people with their own agenda. Let’s not let them push us around whether they’re on the right or the left, Republican or Democrat. READ ARTICLE »