Latest Issue

Interview: Adam Smith

The author of the Wealth of Nations, back in Glasgow for a university fundraiser, has some surprising ideas on international development, taxation and the role of the state

By Iain McLean   June 2006

The scene is a fundraising event in Glasgow University. The canapés and conversation are flowing freely in the Hunterian Museum. The dean of the faculty of social sciences is talking to Adam Smith (professor of logic 1751-52; of moral philosophy 1752-64). Iain McLean is eavesdropping behind a display case, which houses the model Newcomen engine that James Watt (mathematical instrument-maker in the department of natural philosophy, 1757-64), was asked to repair.

Dean Welcome Dr Smith! We are always pleased to see our distinguished former staff returning. Indeed, we are so proud of you that we have named one…

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