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Book review: ‘Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner?’ by Katrine Marçal

By Jessica Abrahams   March 2015

81iH+e5oiRLWho Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? by Katrine Marçal (Portobello, £12.99)

“How do you get your dinner is the fundamental question of economics.” So writes the Swedish author Katrine Marçal. Adam Smith used this example in 1776, laying the groundwork for the concept of the “economic man,” the rational, self-interested agent used in standard economic models: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner,” wrote Smith, “but from their regard to their own interest.” 

But, as Marçal notes, he forgot who…

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