February’s TNG features Myles Jackman, who will be discussing ‘the criminalization of written fantasy’. Myles is the only solicitor in the country to specialize in sexual liberties and obscenity law, and has been instrumental in challenging the legal framework in which sexual morality is represented. He made legal history as the first solicitor to be granted permission to live-tweet a criminal trial as it unfolded, and was Law Society Junior Lawyer of the Year 2012- 2013.
TNGs are informal gatherings held at our office in Westminster for under-30s. You can join the TNG network on facebook here.
The “Adam Smith Problem” alleged by German academics in the nineteenth century was that there was inconsistency in Smith’s attitude towards human nature. In Moral Sentiments Smith pointed to the importance of sympathy, in The Wealth of Nations he wrote of man’s inevitable self-interest. There was in fact no such problem. Smith understood that humans are complex and have a multiplicity of often-conflicting sentiments and motivations.
However, Peter Foster, in his book Why We Bite the Invisible Hand: The Psychology of Anti-Capitalism suggests that there really is an “Adam Smith Problem.” It lies in how our moral sentiments – our inherent feelings about, and socialized attitudes towards, harm, fairness and justice — might be inclined, and easily persuaded, to condemn the vast and overwhelmingly benign commercial world of The Wealth of Nation, a world which has reached unimagineable heights since Smith’s day. Foster suggests that the field of evolutionary psychology has much to tell us about the roots of this problem, and its significance for politics from Smith’s time to our own.
Peter Foster is a Toronto-based journalist and author. Why We Bite the Invisible Hand is his ninth book. He writes a twice-weekly column for the National Post.
Time: 6.00pm – 7.30pm.