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Adam Smith

Adam Smith (June 5, 1723 – July 17, 1790) was a Scottish moral philosopher often regarded as the “father of modern economics”. His magnum opus, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) had significant influence during the Scottish Revolution and became a powerful starting point for the classical economics movement. Smith’s work reflect such ideas as the sufficiency of the price mechanism to operate as an invisible hand in the economy, properly steering the allocation of scarce resources; the division of labor as a tool to stimulate productivity; and rational self-interest in a free market system as sufficient for economic success.

Fun Fact: At age 14, Smith entered the University of Glasgow and studied moral philosophy under the tutelage of Irish philosopher Reverend Francis Hutcheson.

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Adam Smith: The Invisible Hand

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September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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