It was midnight and raining as I walked up a deserted Royal Mile in Edinburgh ahead of our event to discuss the Scottish Government’s proposed legislation for community wealth building. Out of the gloom, standing in front of a moody St Giles’ Cathedral was Adam Smith (well, his statue at any rate!).
Often credited as the father of modern economics and a proponent of self-interest characterised as “the invisible hand”, Smith was just as passionate about morality. 20th century economists, of course, made sure to keep the morality out of economics and we are all (quite literally) the poorer for it.
“we need to change our economic system so that it works in the interests of people”
Smith’s understanding of economics as a social rather than a mathematical science was a revelation to me when I was studying at The University of Glasgow. But Adam Smith was only the beginning of my enlightenment – I have since been lucky enough to learn from economists across the world who also believe we need to change our economic system so that it works in the interests of people, rather than the other way around.