This week's episode was recorded and filmed last month before a large crowd at Ball State University. EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed philosopher James Otteson and Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith to talk about another famous Smith...
For this special episode, we'd like to again give you a chance to see your response on EconTalk. Choose one of the prompts below, and submit your response (500 words or less, please) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight EST on Sunday, April 12.
[Video below the fold.]
1. Roberts asks each guest to characterize Smith's view of human nature. How do their answers differ? Which seems to you to be a more accurate characterization, and why? What evidence can you find from (Adam) Smith to support the answer of either Otteson or (Vernon) Smith? (Remember, you can access Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments [and more] online at Econlib...)
2. How do (Vernon) Smith and Otteson describe (Adam) Smith's impartial spectator? Roberts argues that the impartial spectator is "what allows us to create civilization." What does he mean by this, and to what extent do you find his argument persuasive? Explain.
3. How can we reconcile Adam Smith's apparent disdain for wealth in The Theory of Moral Sentiments with the positive description of wealth creation in The Wealth of Nations? How would Smith regard the level of wealth we enjoy today? Explain.