Otteson at a bargain price

by Russ Roberts on June 24, 2011

in Adam Smith, Books, Podcast

This coming Monday’s EconTalk is a conversation with James Otteson talking about Adam Smith. His superb book, Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life explores how the author of The Wealth of Nations (which focuses on self-interest) could also write The Theory of Moral Sentiments (which focuses on virtue and benevolence). This is one of the main topics of the podcast. Amazon is currently selling the paperback for a mere $7.27.

Be Sociable, Share!



25 comments    Share Share    Print    Email


Scott G June 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

Looking forward it. (There is a shortage of Econtalk podcasts on Hayek and Smith).

kyle8 June 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

Although I learned about the Wealth of Nations in college, I did not learn about or read the Theory of Moral Sentiments until recently.

I confess that it is a bit of hard slogging, perhaps because of my own lacking education or that the language has changed so much in two hundred thirty years. But it is amazing that this one man produced two of the most important works of public, enlightenment philosophy.

Seth June 25, 2011 at 12:53 am

I recommend listening to the EconTalk podcast series on the TMS. I thought Russ and Dan Klein did an excellent job. Start here:

Alex June 24, 2011 at 11:46 am

The “how” implies an incongruity. But where would virtue and benevolence come from if not self-interest?

vidyohs June 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Speaking of moral sentiments, I believe honoring other’s freedom is one of those moral thingys.

If you have not seen this and have not made an effort to learn what the U.N.Agenda 21 is and what it means to you, then you owe it to yourself, your family, and the future to watch this and followup with more investigation.

What is Agenda 21 for dummies:

Sam June 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Vid….really? A conspiracy nut? You?

Doesn’t the whole idea of massive conspiracy undercut the beauty of a market system? If you concede that some massive duplicity is possible, aren’t you in effect also conceding that a system of private transactions is powerless to stop it?

Or better. Aren’t you acting like a loony lefty in thinking that some small cabal of men tucked in a dark room in Turtle Bay secretly rule the world?

vidyohs June 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

When you watch it you will learn that one of my favorite things to preach on, The Precautionary Principle, is one of the big things included in Agenda 21.

The Precautionary Principle alone is enough to terrify, let alone all the other crap heaped on top of it.

We in America are up to our noses in crap and the pipe is still pumping it in, we are in serious trouble. Moral sentiments will not be enough in the very near future, you’d better understand the wisdom of “lock and load”.

Ryan Vann June 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Sir, you are exhibiting some sedicious language. Are you one of those homegrown turristessess? Might be we have a presidential suite at Hotel dela Guantanamo for you.

vidyohs June 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I would rather fight and die than live in the world they are working to force us into. That Agenda 21 is not just a proposal, it is being implemented as we speak in incremental fashion yet steady enough that soon we are going to wake up with Homeland Security and the military at our doors telling us we must gather our things and go with them. Concentration, cattle cars, forced labor at work they dictate, mere subsistence rations, it is coming soon to your neighborhood, if your neighborhood is one of the black areas on their map; and, your neighborhood is going to become more heavily populated.

It will be more like the Soviet Union than NAZI Germany. In NAZI Germany, the Jews were the enemy. In the Soviet Union everyone, not a party functionary, was the enemy.

Sam June 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Vid! No! Please….I can’t take it. You…you….are becoming a loony lefty!!!!! Nooooooooooo!

vidyohs June 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm


Sam June 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm

A loony who yells about crazy government conspiracy theories. Say it ain’t so Vid.

vidyohs June 25, 2011 at 7:13 am

Ahhh Sam, my man. Just because a man has some paranoia doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get him. :-)

Once in awhile these things are real, and like the Trans-Texas Corridor (part of the Peace & Prosperity deal between the USA, Canada, and Mexico) which our Rick Perry et. al. tried to push past Texans foremost. I am not sure that that deal is dead yet, but it was sure on the planning board and contractors were being selected.

Like you, some said “paranoia”. But to call it conspiracy theory when it is right there out in the open, is a little disingenuous. A bunch of kooks didn’t make it up, and for sure the Precautionary Principle has been something many looney lefties have wanted to bring into law for a long time now. I first learned of that back in the early 90s from Reason Magazine (hardly a bunch of nuts).

Tell you what, Sam. Let’s take some time and do some investigating and see if we can put Agenda 21 to bed, or if we should be worried about it. Ok?

Sam June 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

But Vid….if, as Don repeatedly points out, political boundaries carry no economic significance….what exactly do they represent? Wouldn’t a global free market system work just a well with one global government so dedicated as it would with 193?

vidyohs June 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

“But Vid….if, as Don repeatedly points out, political boundaries carry no economic significance….what exactly do they represent? Wouldn’t a global free market system work just a well with one global government so dedicated as it would with 193?”

Gotta admit that one puzzles me. It is almost as if you were sharing the stuff that Gil uses before sitting down to his keyboard.

Sam, I am surprised that a man as smart as you has to be told some basic facts, but I will do it.

Before I do, let me draw a little analogy (I love analogies).
If am going across the African veldt and see a large gathering of Vultures and Hyenas all milling around in one area, I know one thing for sure without even going there. That one thing is that in the middle of that mess of Vultures and Hyenas is a critter carcass, maybe a Zebra, a Gnu, perhaps an antelope. You don’t know for sure without digging in and investigating, but you know it is something. That is the reason for the gathering. Bet on it. Now if we imagine those Vultures and Hyenas as conspiracy theorists, we find the analogy completes with the understanding that in the middle of that mess of sometimes insane sounding crap is a reason for the gathering. Bet on it.

In the late 1980s I began to hear about the Trilateral Commission from infrequent but various sources. It is a fact that at that time the media and the powers that be all pooh poohed the existence of such a body and denied that it existed. They called the ones talking about it, just crazy extremist conspiracy theorist. Even well into the 1990s, the media and powers were still denying the existence of the Trilateral Commission. However, now it is common knowledge that there is a Trilateral Commission and it does exercise some sort of power or authority, power and authority not yet totally revealed or understood.

Shortly after hearing about the Trilateral Commission, the name Bilderburgers began to come up. Same thing, the media the powers all denied it existed. We know better now, don’t we. Them damn crazy conspiracy theorist intrigued enough people to investigate, and lo and behold, there is a Bilderburger group with a lot of the world’s very prominent politicians and wealthy as members. Yep, conspiracy theorist were there first again.

I began hearing about a treaty giving the U.N. control over all the watershed in the USA well back in the late 1990s, and I took it with a grain of salt. Then the name Agenda 21 began to come up. There is them damn vultures and hyenas again, starting to gather around, something.

Then we had the Peace Prosperity Partnership, that Bush signed with the Canadian PM, and Mexico’s president, and the single currency called the Amero was mentioned, as well as the TransTexas Corridor as part of the super super highway & rail system connecting a port in Mexico to receive container ships (Chinese) to a Free Trade Zone in or near Kansas City that would not be under U.S. control. Oh, the media and the powers all pooh poohed the concern and Rick Perry moved his part underground, but even then was found out. It appears to be shelved for now, but it ain’t dead yet.

In short, Sam, with Agenda 21, you see the Vultures and the Hyenas around it, and they are there with reason. Myself I don’t worry a whole lot about the ones who take their theory off into the ozone, I have enough world experience to judge things for myself, and I can spot Bullshit as quick as anyone (I did spend 21 years active service learning the craft from experts). I can look and listen to the presentations about what Agenda 21 lays out for education of children, and Sam, I can see that it has been happening just as the claim says. Why would I assume that our entire nation of schools suddenly, all without coordination, decided to pursue values instead of facts. Why did schools from coast to coast all suddenly inject environmentalism into their studies as one of the main focuses for children? Are there really people in the US that would embrace surrendering our sovereignty to the UN? Hell yes there are, as often as you’ve tried to talk some sense into the Dr. Idiot in California, you have to be aware of that.

With the looney left it doesn’t matter that it will be impossible to accomplish the things outlined in Agenda 21, the things like concentrating all of us into cities (BTW I hope you did pick up on the fact that Agenda 21 is not just about the USA, it is just that the USA conspiracy theorist are the ones leading the way to uncovering and exposing it.) and ensuring food for everyone. It is obvious that a lot of people would have to die to make that happen……but you and I dying is not a problem for the spooky bastards that came up with things like the Precautionary Principle and Agenda 21, and you and I dying along with millions more is no reason for the dedicated looney left to try and implement it. You should know the truth of that, hell they talk all the time about the world needing a huge die off of humans.

Let me close with this.

In the year 2000, if someone had come to you and showed you a written copy of Obamacare, only without the name, and told you that it was the hidden plan of the democrats for health care the moment they could seize power enough to pass it as law; and, you read the whole thing, including the death panels and the forced purchases, the creation of hundreds of new federal agencies to administer the thing etc. et. al, you would called Bullshit on the people that showed it to you and called them crazy conspiracy theorist because there is no way you would believe that shit.

:-) Sam, don’t be so quick to dismiss the gathering of Vultures and Hyenas as just a social gathering to exchange kooky ideas, there is real carrion in there somewhere.

vidyohs June 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm


“and you and I dying along with millions more is no reason for the dedicated looney left to put off trying to implement it. You should know the truth of that, hell they talk all the time about the world needing a huge die off of humans.”

Scott June 26, 2011 at 3:15 am

Ok, but conspiracy suggests that there is an underlying, hidden coordination among all the parts of the left’s “plan”. Are you convinced it is a huge coordinated agenda, or just a bunch of people who believe the same things and are each doing what they think is the best way to get there from here?

vidyohs June 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm


Do I think that the communist/socialist movement has a core conspiracy group, yes I do. I do believe that people were trained in the early part of the 20th century by a hard core central group, and those trained people were sent out to various nations and places to promote international communism/socialism. They taught the loonies that began to show up in the entertainment, education, legal, and information fields. At that point secrecy was not necessary, just the beliefs, particularly here in the USA where freedom of speech, religion, and thought was sacrosanct. The USA in particular was like a blessing to them, they could preach their statism openly and unchallenged by law. So were these people part of the conspiracy yes, but frequently unwittingly.

In other nations, like Cuba, China, etc. the communist/socialist had to hide under cover because they couldn’t talk openly where freedom of speech didn’t exist. So in those nations was there a hidden conspiracy, yes.

Jimee June 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Vidyohs, I suspect we think the same about The Precautionary Principle. I call it “The Pinhead Principle.”

vidyohs June 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Yessir, it means all engines dead stop. Instant stagnation in every arena of life. Then after a brief period of stagnation, the rot, the deterioration sets in and we begin to regress.

Even without Agenda 21, the Precautionary Principle alone, as law, would kill our nation, society, and culture.

Purpendicular June 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Maybe the world is turning against me, but the price they quote is $15.60 with only one left in stock.

Scott G June 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I bought it this morning for the price Russ mentioned in his post. I guess demand went up and the price changed.

Peter Calcagno June 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I may be reaching here, but I would like to think my introduction of Jim and Russ at the College of Charleston had something to do with this podcast. Cannot wait!

Dan J June 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm

A must read for muirgeo…….

brotio June 25, 2011 at 4:01 am

After he finishes, “See Spot Run”.

Previous post:

Next post: