Adam Smith Program
Department of Economics · George Mason University
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Special Events & Projects

In addition to its regular activities, the Smith Program does special events and projects to enhance the program community, develop relationships with other scholars and academic centers, and produce research in Adam Smith, political economy, and classical liberal thought.

Has Liberalism Failed?

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We partnered with Catherine and Michael Pakaluk of Catholic University of America (CUA) to address the question: Has liberalism failed? Nine speakers and 30 participants explored meanings of 'liberalism,' what it would mean to say it has failed, whether it has failed, and, whatever the assessment, what to do. The day-long conference (9 Sept 2023 at CUA) made as the touchstone of the conversation Patrick Deneen's book Why Liberalism Failed.

Summer 2023 —Adam Smith @ 300

Lots of activity during the summer of the Adam Smith tercentenary:

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Timbro Classical Liberal Summer Seminar, Sigtuna Foundation, 16–17 June 2023.

 

Next, NOUS Adam Smith @ 300 Edinburgh, 19–22 June 2023, GMUers in front of Panmure House, and then the whole crew:

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The whole NOUS crew in front of Panmure.

Next, GMUers at St. Andrews, for the IASS etc. 18–21 July 2023:

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Elsewhere during summer 2023, Dan Klein did Adam Smith events: Bratislava (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), Prague (1, 2, 3),  Stockholm, Vienna, Belgrade, Milan, Buckingham.

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University of Buckingham conference, 19 July 2023.

 

Erik Matson, Calihan lecture, at the Mercatus Center, for Acton Institute's Michael Novak Award

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After the Calihan lecture (forthcoming in Acton's Journal of Markets and Morality), delivered by Erik Matson, as recipient of the Acton Institute's Michael Novak award: Caleb Petitt, Dan Klein, Marcus Shera, Yahya Alshamy, Dominic Pino, Jacob Hall, Michaela Loughran, Erik Matson, Kacey Reeves West, Nick Swanson, Catherine Chalkley, Stephanie Matson, Hannah Marquardt (née Matson).

 

Just Sentiments

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Klein and Matson curate a monthly feature at Adam Smith Works (Liberty Fund) called Just Sentiments. The features has included essays by Program fellows Jacob Hall and Marcus Shera, thus far. A new essays appears every month on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

 

Timbro Classical Liberal Summer Seminar, Sigtuna Sweden, June 2022

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Caleb Petitt, Dominc Pino, Erik Matson, and Dan Klein attended the Timbro Classical Liberal Summer Seminar June 20-21 in Sigtuna Sweden; Hairuo Tan also presented her work via internet. The seminar is organized by Björn Hasselgren (top right) and Klein. Charlotta Stern of the Ratio Institute is at right. Marc Sidwell is in the center. Also pictured are Jacob Hjortsberg, Klas Eriksson, and John Norell. Other participants not pictured here were Erwin Dekker, Fanny Forsberg Lundell, and Erik Johnsson. Session topics include Fredrika Bremer, Elizabeth van Dorp, Suárez and Hutcheson, Hume's Weberian account of commercial spirit, Swedish labor markets, American conservatism, anthropology and liberalism, gratefulness and resentfulness, using Michael Polanyi to comprehend Smith's impartial spectator, and understanding challenges to liberal civilization.

Religion, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the Rise of Liberalism

From March 3-5, 2022 the Adam Smith Program co-sponsored a conference with the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy. At the conference we workshopped papers exploring connections between religion, politics, and economics in eighteenth-century Scottish ideas, and the relevance of those connections for current discussions about the state of liberalism. Conference papers are to be published in January 2023 as a special issue of Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology. The conference program may be viewed here.

Smith and Leo XIII, Economics and Ethics

On October 30, 2021 we joined with Christendom College to bring ideas in Smithian political economy and ethics into conversation with the Leonine tradition of Catholic social teaching, focusing on commercial ethics, entrepreneurship, property, and the relation between economics and the common good. The conference program, which includes links to session reading packets, is available here. For more photos from the conference, see here.

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2021 International Adam Smith Society Conference

From October 15-17, 2021, Klein, Matson, and four graduate students participated in the 2021 International Adam Smith Society Conference in Madison, WI. The final conference program is available here.

Back: Maria Pia Paganelli (GMU Econ alum), Erik Matson. Front: Patrick Fitzsimmons, Kacey Reeves, Dan Klein, Hairuo Tan
Back: Maria Pia Paganelli (GMU Econ alum), Erik Matson. Front: Patrick Fitzsimmons, Kacey Reeves, Dan Klein, Hairuo Tan

Smith, Hume, Liberalism, and Esotericism

Thomas Merrill and Daniel Klein organized a conference in November 2018, graciously hosted by Institute for Humane Studies, on Smith, Hume, liberalism, and esotericism (see photo below). Papers were published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization in 2021. (Ungated manuscript versions of the papers are here.)

2018 conference at IHS, "Smith, Hume, Liberalism, and Esotericism."

Liberal Society: History, Theory, and Practice

Co-sponsored by the Adam Smith Program and Patrick Henry College, this conference was held at Patrick Henry College’s campus in Purceville, VA on April 17, 2021. The conference featured presentations and comments from Smith Program leadership and fellows, along with Patrick Henry faculty. Drawing on ideas in Smith, Hume, Burke, and Tocqueville, among others, participants discussed the meaning and history of liberalism, its relation to conservatism, and different challenges facing the liberal project in our times. The conference program is available here.

2021 conference at Patrick Henry College, "Liberal Society: History, Theory, and Practice."

Adam Smith Meets Leo XIII

In April 2019, the Smith Program joined with the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at the Catholic University of America and participated in the first annual Ciocca Scholar’s Conference in Washington D.C. The conference featured presentations and comments from Smith fellows and program alumni, faculty from Catholic University, and other senior scholars in the greater D.C. area. The gathering facilitated a conversation on the relation between Catholic social thought—especially in the tradition of Pope Leo XIII—and the moral philosophy and economics of Adam Smith. The conference program is available here.   

Liberty Fund Books to Program Fellows!

In Spring 2021 Liberty Fund provided a wealth of books to Program fellows, at a generous discount to the Program. Most of the titles are in the vein of natural law, jurisprudence, moral philosophy, and history. We are deeply grateful!