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Inequality, Individualism, and Indispensability – From Adam Smith to Gary Becker, A Dead Economists Society Salon on the value of being different

September 9, 2021 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm CEST

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In this Dead Economists Society Salon Bronwyn Williams and Peter Isztin discuss people (after all, the economy is, ultimately, the sum total of the choices made by individuals like you and I) – what makes us different and how are we the same.

“Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself- and thus make yourself indispensable.”
~ André Gide

We’ll discuss Adam Smith’s street porter and the philosopher as a starting point and ask :

Are people are intrinsically more similar or different?

Is specialisation and division of labour as a result of and/or a key source of difference?

What is the role (if any) of generalists in the economy?

Who was right? Heckman or Adam Smith  about the critical influences of the first few years for human development?

How do contemporary nature versus nurture and demographic identity debates interest with the ideas of our dead economists?

What are the deep sources of inequality today?

And whatever other directions the conversation takes is in.

Join us as we unpack the ideas of Adam Smith and human capital.

Recommended Reading:

Adam Smith on differences between individuals

Bryan Caplan on being baffled by analytic egalitarianism

James Heckman on the economics of human development

Tyler Cowen on the egalitarian tradition of economics

Gary Becker on what is human capital

Becker on Foucault on Becker’s human capital work

Glenn Loury on the case for the “development narrative” in exploring racial inequality



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September 9, 2021
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm CEST