Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.
Capitalism in flames, populism and nationalism on the march across Europe, a US president bent on demolishing free trade, a British shadow chancellor calling openly for the overthrow of capitalism itself . . . the 21st century is not going to script. The market system from which global prosperity has emerged over two centuries is now under attack from all sides, its basic legitimacy assailed from the right by critics of unfair competition and crony capitalism, from the left by campaigners against inequality and “market fundamentalism”.
More than any other, the Scottish political economist and philosopher Adam Smith stands at the centre of this ideological battlefield, while around him clash competing views of economics, markets and societies.