The Wealth of Nations: A New Gospel?
Directed by Ilan Ziv • Documentary • 2014 • 53 minutes
Adam Smith published two books in his life. The Wealth of Nations is a global bestseller that has never been out of print, while The Theory of Moral Sentiments is largely forgotten.
This episode of CAPITALISM argues that disconnecting Smith the economist from Smith the moral philosopher has led to tragic distortions that have profoundly shaped our global economic system.
Divided into easy-to-use sections on the division of labor, self-interest, and the tyranny of control, THE WEALTH OF NATIONS: A NEW GOSPEL lays bare the moral dilemma at the heart of The Wealth of Nations : the human cost of achieving a purely efficient free market system.
This episode convincingly argues that the intellectual foundations of current market economics are largely based on a misinterpretation of Smith's words. It argues that Smith did not favour a completely unregulated free market - in fact, he thought it would be disastrous - and that the underpinnings of contemporary capitalism lie instead in an ideology born in the 19th century, that privileges greed over other equally deep-seated human drives.
Featuring interviews with Noam Chomsky, economist Ha-Joon Chang, and Smith biographer Nicholas Phillipson, among others - as well as archival footage of free market luminaries such as Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman.