James Otteson is the executive director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, and Teaching Professor of Political Economy, at Wake Forest University in Winston‐​Salem, North Carolina. He also serves as a Senior Scholar at the Fund for American Studies, a Research Professor in the Freedom Center and Department of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in California.

Why did Adam Smith, considered by many to be the father of economics, write The Wealth of Nations in 1776? Prof. James Otteson suggests that one of Adam Smith’s main concerns was poverty, which, at the time of Smith’s writings, was much worse than the poverty of today. After analyzing centuries of data, Smith found that commerce and limited government to be the best tool for alleviating poverty.

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