This track essentially summarizes the goals and thesis statement of the album. In short, the aim of this album is to lyrically distill the ideas of Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith, who is regarded to be the “Father of Economics”. In his 1776 book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations”, Smith began to write about the ideas that eventually blossomed into the discipline we today call economics. I have a soundbite in this song from an interview with economist Russ Roberts, who is an Adam Smith scholar and wrote the book, “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life”, released in 2015. In this interview clip, Roberts introduces Adam Smith, and dispels the popular myth that Adam Smith was a promoter of greed and an “advocate for selfishness”. On the contrary, Roberts explains Smith was in no way a supporter of selfishness, but rather that Smith was a promoter of virtues such as prudence, justice, beneficence, and self-sufficiency. Smith’s reputation may be besmirched historically due to passages such as this one from "The Wealth of Nations", as Smith wrote, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” In other words, the butcher could care less about you! He may have utter disdain for you, but because the butcher is self-interested, it is his own incentive to behave in a way towards you as if he had care for you. At the end of all this, the consumer comes away with a cut of sirloin, veal, or pork shoulder through voluntary exchange. The takeaway from this should not be that Smith was a praising selfishness, but rather that in an economic system of voluntary exchange, the private interest often serves the public good. Much of the discipline of economics flows out of this fundamental insight, which was initially put forth by Smith.
Here is the link to the full 15 minute interview with Russ Roberts on Adam Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbS8u-rY3hM&t=44s
- Hip-hop & Rap