If you’ve studied economics – or early U.S. history – you know the name Adam Smith. Smith’s 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, is one of the most important works in economics.
Because Smith’s teachings are so essential, the College of Charleston’s Center for Public Choice and Market Process celebrates his work each spring with a week of presentations, discussions and events that explore a variety of topics related to political economy, entrepreneurship and the role of government.
This year, Adam Smith Week (March 15-19, 2021) will feature nearly a dozen different scholars and noted professionals. Their talks will include “Is Capitalism Sustainable? The Platform Economy: Problems for Policy” by Michael Munger, director of Undergraduate Studies at Duke University. And “The Coddling of the American Mind: How three very bad ideas shape American education,” by Jonathan Haidt, professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
“Adam Smith Week (ASW) is a series of unique educational opportunities for students, faculty and the community,” explains Peter Calcagno, director of the Center for Public Choice and Market Process and professor of economics, noting that the weeklong series gives the center the opportunity to expand its impact well beyond the CofC campus. “This year we’re taking the opportunity to be entrepreneurial by collaborating with eight other institutions across the country and presenting it all virtually. Though the Center for Public Choice and Market Process is unique, there are others with similar missions and we’ve partnered with many of those to bring together an amazing lineup of speakers.”
This year’s expansion of ASW isn’t the only impact that Calcagno and his center can claim. In 2016, he initiated a partnership with Liberty Common Charter School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he and students in the College’s Market Process Scholars program participated in discussions with Liberty’s headmaster about advancing the understanding of economics and politics in a free society. Since then, a group of economics instructors from Liberty have visited the College to attend previous ASW events. As a result, the headmaster augmented his school’s economics curriculum and now Liberty has established its own Adam Smith Week.
In addition to hosting Adam Smith Week at the College, the Center for Public Choice and Market Process hosts a Free Market Speaker Series and an Economics Book Colloquium. ASW and the speaker series have each featured world-class scholars including journalist John Stossel of Fox Business News; Vernon Smith, the 2002 Nobel Laureate in economics; and John Allison, former CEO and Chairman of BB&T.
The 13th annual edition of Adam Smith Week is open to the public, but registration is required for each virtual session. Visit the ASW webpage for additional information.