The University of Glasgow in Scotland has recently hosted the historic Climate Conference, where Adam Smith, the father of modern economics and author of The Wealth of Nations, was also educated and taught, one of the most influential works in the field. Following the conference, an international group of economists published a 60-page pamphlet presenting an updated version of “The Wealth of Nations,” to examine the modern challenge of global warming, and to try to adapt Smith’s “disappearing hand” to the economic aspect of the climate challenge.
Smith has always been seen as the first designer of as much reduced government involvement as possible, which will not prevent the “invisible hand” from doing good to the economy and to all citizens. A re-examination of the group of economists interprets Smith’s essay under the current circumstances, arguing that if Smith had written “Wealth of Nations” today, he would have been preaching a governmental restraint, both financial and business, that would direct the world to a green economy. In their view, Smith’s marked opposition to monopolies and their detrimental effect is consistent with support for regular regulation against them today, in the current climate emergency.
The publication of the Group of Economists sharpens the complexity of the growing climate threat, and the revolutionary change in attitude towards its solutions, shifted from the natural sciences and geography, to the social sciences and economics, understanding that the challenges of the climate crisis are also, if not primarily, socioeconomic.
Faced with these issues, the group of economists updates Adam Smith’s view of today’s climatic circumstances, arguing that Smith would recognize the “free goods” that nature provides to humans, such as clean air, clear seas and green spaces, attach economic value to them, and support Out of this, in a financial involvement that will protect this value – for example, a necessary regulation, which will deter banking corporations from destructive loans to energy companies that produce and distribute polluting fuel.
The group of economists who published the pamphlet expressed hope that world leaders would embrace the legacy left by Smith, “and create a new legacy that we can all take part in and be proud of.”