The Condensed Wealth of Nations and the incredibly condensed Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations is without doubt one of the most important books ever written. For it recognised that economic specialisation and cooperation are the keys to improving living standards. However, in its original form, with its somewhat dense and archaic language, it is often inaccessible to modern readers.

That is why this new condensed version is so important and welcome. Written by Dr. Eamonn Butler and to be formally launched by the Adam Smith Institute at this event, it is a must read for anyone who has not read Smith but is interested in economics, philosophy and the history of ideas. Significantly, the new book also contains a primer on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith’s other great work that explores the nature of ethics.

While I am about it, I would also suggest that readers consider purchasing three other excellent and recently published introductory books from the ASI. For together, Dr. Madsen Pirie’s ‘Freedom 101‘, Dr. Richard Wellings’s  ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty‘, and Dr. Eamonn Butler’s ‘Austrian Economics – A Primer’ make rather sound introductory pack – particularly for young scholars.


Austrian Economics: Past, Present and Future

Our friends at the Adam Smith Institute are hosting an event next week to launch Dr Eamonn Butler’s latest book, Austrian Economics: A Primer:


  • Dr Eamonn Butler (Director, Adam Smith Institute)
  • James Tyler (Tyler Capital Ltd.)
  • Dr Stephen Littlechild (Cambridge Judge Business School)
  • Professor Anthony J. Evans (Assistant Professor of Economics, ESCP Europe)

Date: 23rd September 2010
Time: 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Location: Queenborough Room, St Stephen’s Club, 34 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, SW1H 9AB


Dr Eamonn Butler, “Austrian Economics – A Primer”

From the Adam Smith InstituteFollowing his introduction to Mises, Dr Eamonn Butler has released his latest book, Austrian Economics – A Primer. I recommend it strongly if you want to grasp the fundamentals of the Austrian School of Economics as quickly as possible: at just 118 pages, this pamphlet can be tackled in one sitting.

With Keynesian-inspired policies which ‘spend your way out of recession’ clearly not working, the Austrian School provides a better explanation for recent events than more ‘mainstream’ thinking, whether Keynesian or Monetarist.

Over the course of the book, Eamonn explains the Austrian view of the importance of human agency, values and knowledge in shaping the markets, that is social cooperation. Vitally, it explains the origin of the present cycle of boom and bust: the government’s cheap credit policies, which encouraged people to borrow and discouraged saving, creating an artificial boom that inevitably ended.

For many years, the Austrian School of Economics has been sidelined, but it’s great to see that it is now rising in popularity as people become increasingly critical of the way governments and central banks have handled the economy.

Butler’s systematic and simple yet comprehensive primer is a great addition to a stable which also includes The Austrian School: Market Order and Entrepreneurial Creativity by Jesus Huerta de Soto. While Huerta de Soto’s first-class book is perhaps aimed at a more technical audience, Butler has made the Austrian School highly approachable. A strength shared by both works is to be measured and inclusive where “Austrians” can be confrontational.

Eamonn has made a superb job of outlining this important school of thought and his book should prove a great success. You can buy it here.

Economics – We should not be saved from our stupidity

It is very hard to play the game of life – or of capitalism – when governments keep changing the rules. Which they do every time they fear that one of the players might actually be losing. It does not matter if the players’ loss is down to their own folly; the politicians still rush to turn them into winners. They do not want voters harbouring grudges. But in making sure that everyone wins prizes, they sap the very incentives that drive our social and economic progress.

via / Comment / Opinion – We should not be saved from our stupidity.