When asked “Who is the ‘father’ of modern economics?” most economists answer Adam Smith (A.D. 1723-1790). Smith was a Scottish “moral philosopher,” pioneer of political economics, and author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (A.D. 1776)—the first modern work of economics. (Note Smith’s fixation on “morality”. He was a “moral philosopher” and his first book involved “Moral Sentiments”.)
Smith was the quintessential “absent minded professor”. He was fumbling, forgetful and inoffensive—but highly intellectual. Alan Greenspan described The Wealth of Nations as “one of the great achievements in human intellectual history”.
Although Smith is widely cited as the “father of modern economics,” I suspect that someone far less “moral” is the true “father” of modern economics. Smith may be the “father of economics”. He is certainly the “father of classical economics”. But, as you’ll read, the true “father of modern (monetary) economics” is someone far less moral than Smith.
Read the rest of this entry »