Adam Smith

Democrats to Participate in GOP Benghazi Committee—Here's Why it's a Big Mistake
May 21, 2014

The idea that Democrats' very presence on the Benghazi committee will amount to a check on overreach is oddly blind to the events of the past year and a half.

From the Stacks: “Money and Love”
October 1, 2001
July 17, 2013

A review of Economic Sentiments: Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment by Emma Rothschild.

Does Biology Make us Liars?
October 05, 2012

Self-deception is a weapon instilled in us by natural selection to help deceive others for our own good.

What Happened to Europe?
August 02, 2012

ABOUT FIFTY YEARS AGO, in 1961, Jean-Paul Sartre complained about the state of Europe. “Europe is springing leaks everywhere,” he wrote. He went on to remark that “it simply is that in the past we made history and now history is being made of us.” Sartre was undoubtedly too pessimistic.

The Price of Everything
May 18, 2012

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of MarketsBy Michael J. Sandel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 244 pp., $27)  For over thirty years, Harvard undergraduates have packed Sanders Theater for Michael Sandel’s course on justice. PBS has broadcast the lectures and more than three and a half million people have clicked to watch them on YouTube.

Global Innovation: The Metropolitan Edition
March 16, 2012

It is increasingly well understood that cities are the primary location and mechanism of innovation and, in turn, prosperity (see “The Triumph of the City” or urban scaling). But which cities are the most innovative on earth? For a long time, getting sub-national economic data for a large number of countries was impossible, but no longer. New data from the OECD show which cities have the most inventors in the world, measured by those who apply for patent protection in multiple countries (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty).

Former Obama Official: Why I Applaud ‘Occupy the SEC’
February 24, 2012

In the months since Occupy Wall Street pitched its first tents last September, one criticism of the movement has been that it does not offer much in the way of solutions. Enter Occupy the SEC, an Occupy offshoot made up of activists and veterans of the financial sector. Instead of taking the public stand of OWS, they’re using a different tactic: They’ve written a detailed 325-page analysis of the Volcker rule. And, in my view, they’ve got it exactly right. First, some background.

The Lure of the Peak
January 11, 2012

Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. On What Matters: Volume I By Derek Parfit (Oxford University Press, 540 pp., $35) On What Matters: Volume II By Derek Parfit (Oxford University Press, 825 pp., $35)   I. The idea that ethics is the province of religion lingers even in relatively secular societies.

The Boundaries of Justice
December 14, 2011

David Hume was born three hundred years ago, in 1711. The world has changed radically since his time, and yet many of his ideas and admonitions remain deeply relevant, though rather neglected, in the contemporary world. These Humean insights include the central role of information and knowledge for adequate ethical scrutiny, and the importance of reasoning without disowning the pertinence of powerful sentiments.

The Love of Monopoly
May 19, 2011

Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications By Richard R. John (Belknap Press, 520 pp., $39.95) Once upon a time, some thought it obvious that competition was a bad thing, particularly in communications. As Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T, put it in 1913, “The public as a whole has never benefited” from competition. Monopoly, he said, was the better choice. The reason, he argued, is that “all costs of aggressive, uncontrolled competition are eventually borne, directly or indirectly, by the public.” Nowadays corporate executives carefully avoid expressing such sentiments.

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