March TNG with Matt Ridley

For our March TNG we welcome the Viscount, author and all-round optimist Matt Ridley, who will speak on the historical and economic importance of free trade agreements like TTIP.

Some circles allege that TTIP will usher in an era of corporatism and secret courts, destroying the NHS and decimating small businesses with the cruel force of globalization. Luckily, reality is far more benevolent — and Matt Ridley will explain exactly how free trade agreements like TTIP will make all involved significantly better off.

As a speaker Viscount Ridley needs little introduction. He has written a number of books on science, the environment and economics, including ‘The Red Queen’ and ‘The Rational Optimist’, which have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards. His TED conference talk ‘When Ideas Have Sex’ has over 2 million views online. He continues to write regularly, and was elected as hereditary peer in the House of Lords as a member of the Conservative Party in 2013.

The Next Generation events are informal socials for the under-30s. To attend, please RSVP either via email or Facebook

There really is an ‘Adam Smith Problem’

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.