Call For an Annual Adam Smith Festival
| Peter Klein |
In 1990 I was privileged to attend a conference on “Adam Smith and his Legacy” commemorating the 200th anniversary of Smith’s death. The speakers included eight of the twenty Economics Nobel Laureates then living along with Smith scholars such as Andrew Skinner, general editor of the 1976 Glasgow edition of Smith’s Works and Correspondence. The papers were published in this book; you can read my conference report here. Listening to and visiting with the Laureates was fun, though I didn’t learn much about Adam Smith at the conference (most economists — Nobel Laureates included — know and care little about the history of economic thought). There was also an event at Smith’s grave in Canongate Kirk. (Somewhere I have a picture of myself at the site of Smith’s birthplace in Kirkcaldy; it’s basically me standing next to this).
From Gavin Kennedy I learn that Eamonn Butler has called for an annual Adam Smith Festival, to be held each summer in Edinburgh. The city already holds an internationally recognized and highly successful arts festival so it knows how to do this sort of thing. Butler proposes several activities that could be part of a Smith festival then adds, wryly:
[O]ther people will have their own ideas. After all, it would not do for an Adam Smith Festival to be too rigidly planned. How much more appropriate it would be if different people’s initiatives came together — as if led, indeed, by an invisible hand.