Latest Issue

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 was…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect