Let’s start with the “bible of capitalism” – Adam Smith’s much-misunderstood work, The Wealth of Nations. At a time when absolutist national states ran the economy for the purpose of augmenting state power, the book’s core tenets were revolutionary: that economic progress depends on the pursuit of self-interest, division of labor and freedom of trade.
The Wealth of NationsCreateSpace
Even though Smith’s idealized image of economic progress and social harmony may have developed a few cracks over the course of time, his ideas have inspired many well-known economists, among them the late Milton Friedman.
Milton Friedman’s 1962 classic, Capitalism and Freedom, strongly influenced the neoliberalist economic thinking championed by leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
Capitalism and FreedomUniversity of Chicago Press
The world today continues to be shaped by policies neoliberalism has inspired: the free movement of goods and capital, privatization, reduced government spending and deregulation.
Read more on the march of ideas from the minds of economists into our lives here: