The Public Interest

The moralist of the dismal science

Francis Fukuyama

Summer 1999

ADAM Smith has long suffered from having become an icon of laissez-faire capitalism, revered by the Right and despised by the Left. As little as a generation ago, it was hard to find intellectuals in the West who took him seriously. His books were seldom read in college surveys of Western thought, and he was not regarded as even remotely in the same league as the now-fallen Marx and Freud. At the other end of the ideological spectrum, participants at libertarian conferences gave out Adam Smith neckties, but probably spent as little time reading Adam Smith seriously as those on the left. 

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