Why Adam Smith Today?

Today, the world holds almost seven billion people living in more than two hundred countries. Most of these people (about 80%) are living and have lived for centuries in poverty. The remaining 20% — many of those living in North America, Europe, and parts of East Asia—are living extremely well.  Why? Are there some factors that make for wealth?  Are there others that lead to poverty? We believe that there are concrete answers to these questions.  The answers are not new. They have been around since 1776. They have proved to work in country after country.

No one wants to live in poverty – and few people want others to live that way. Is there something that we in the wealthy world can do to help those less fortunate than ourselves to attain wealth?  The answer is – probably no.  We have been trying for sixty years through the World Bank and through national foreign aid programs to make a difference and help these impoverished nations to succeed. In general all such programs have failed. While many countries have attained wealth through their own efforts – Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea come to mind — not one country in the entire world has risen from poverty to wealth as a result of external aid programs. The net effect of these aid programs has been to get the peoples and their governments in recipient countries more deeply into debt.  The response from well meaning people:  “Increase the level of aid.”  The aid has failed not because it was insufficient, but because external aid alone cannot solve the problems of poverty. The peoples in these countries must improve their situation themselves – using well established economic principles. These principles were listed first in writing by Adam Smith in 1776.

Here at home today we face serious economic problems. We are living through what has been characterized as “The greatest recession in the last 25 years.”  The Obama administration is proposing massive stimulus plans, cap and trade legislation, national health plans, and “spread the wealth” taxation schemes.  Will these plans cure the recession? Will they help to preserve our wealth? Or will they lead us down the road to national poverty faced by the rest of the world?  We believe that the answers to these questions can be found by studying the basic economic principles described by Adam Smith and subsequent free market economists.

In Adam Smith Today, we hope to explain these principles, and show how they apply to our world today.  Who developed these principles?  There are hundreds of such thinkers, but they got their inspiration from the basic concepts of a few.  Among these few are:

  • Adam Smith 1723-1790
  • Ludwig Von Mises 1881- 1973
  • Friedrich Hayek 1899 – 1992
  • Henry Hazlitt  1894-1993
  • Hernando de Soto 1941 –
  • Israel M. Kirzner 1930 –
  • Sebastian Edwards  1953 -

The principles on which Adam Smith Today are based will be explained on the pages of this website.  Readers are encouraged to comment and criticize, and to add their own views.

AdamSmithToday.com is a product of The Database Marketing Institute, Ltd. (www.dbmarketing.com) which finances it.

About Arthur Middleton Hughes

Arthur is currently Vice President of The Database Marketing Institute based in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Arthur is the author of 11 books, the latest of which is Strategic Database Marketing 4th Edition (McGraw-Hill 2012). A BA graduate of Princeton with an MPA in Economics and Public Affairs, Arthur taught economics at he University of Maryland for 32 years. He is an Austrian Economist.
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