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Free Lunch: Easily Digestible Economics by David Smith

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4Adam – but no apple

In many ways our first celebrity guest is a brave choice. While few economists would quarrel with the choice of Adam Smith as the father of modern economics, many might hesitate before inviting him along as a speaker. This eighteenth-century Scot (1723–90) was almost a parody of the absent-minded professor. Anecdotes that have been passed down through the years tell of him putting bread and butter into a teapot, pouring hot water on it, and then wondering why the tea tasted so foul. Or of him being so engaged in a philosophical discourse while walking along that he stumbled into a tanning pit. Born in Kirkcaldy on the Firth of Forth a few months after the death of his father, the town’s customs controller (in the days when ...

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