Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings you and your family great joy and happiness.
For me, 2018 was a year in which I tried to make an extended argument for a different kind of economics, or rather, political economy, in the UK, USA and elsewhere.
My book on Adam Smith and his impact was written to help us regain a better public understanding of the ways in which different markets work, the dangers of crony capitalism, the factors that shape social norms and expectations, the benefits of "commercial society" and open trade, the co-evolving mutual advantages of markets and a well-functioning state, and the dynamic nature of human commercial, moral and intellectual exchange. On all of which issues Smith has insights of still-astonishing depth and importance.
A nuanced historical perspective is perhaps more vital than ever today. And I have found Smith's ideas of huge value in thinking about current and future Government policy on transport, including the value of active travel, the impact of electric and autonomous vehicles, future connectivity and the remodelling of urban space.
Some of these pieces from 2018 are below. You may also enjoy a brief rebuttal at the end of the idea that ministers should not be writing about such matters at all!
With all best wishes,
Adam Smith and his impact:
FT: How Adam Smith would fix capitalism
WSJ: What Adam Smith Knew About Trade Wars
Spectator: Adam Smith, Trump and Trade
Reviews of other books:
Thomas Paine, by Jonathan Clark: Spendthrift, Scrounger, and Polemicist of Genius
John Law, by James Buchan: A Law Unto Himself
LSE: Adam Smith: What he Thought, and Why it Matters (with Tim Besley)
Economists that shaped history (with Linda Yueh)
FT: Economic Fairness is a Bipartisan Challenge
ConHome: Whatever happened to the Big Society?
Literary Review: Why politicians should write