This episode features a lecture given by economist and historian Edd Noell titled “Smith and the Scholastic Tradition on Markets and Their Moral Rationale.” This lecture was part of a session on new thinking about Adam Smith jointly sponsored by the Association of Christian Economists and the History of Economics Society at the ASSA meetings almost a year ago in San Diego.
Economists are not often great at studying our own history, and when we are, we too often give Every thinker before the 1700’s only a brief mention before jumping straight to the classical economists. When we think this way, it is easy to imagine that everything Adam Smith wrote was totally original, or that we should read him only in the context of those that came after. In this lecture, Noell walks through a number of different ways in which Adam Smith’s writing fit into the moral philosophy of his time, building on the conversations that had been ongoing among the scholastics for many years. If you are interested in the connections between Christian moral philosophy and the work of Adam Smith, this is a great lecture to listen in to.
Edd Noell is a professor of economics at Westmont College who specializes in the history of economic thought, labor market regulation, and Christian thought about economics. He is also the current president of ACE.
Here is an older paper by Noell, published in the History of Political Economy on a related topic.
Reckoning with Markets: Moral Reflection in Economics by Edd Noell and James Halteman
Remember to check out the ACE sessions at the upcoming online ASSA meetings.