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The University of Southampton
International Summer School

Get Rich or Die Trying? Learning to Be Good and Rich with Adam Smith (1723-1790)

Adam Smith
Adam Smith

I don't know what they want from me
It's like the more money we come across, the more problems we see

-"Mo Money Mo Problems" (Notorious B.I.G. feat. Mase and P. Diddy, 1997)

Does more money make us happier, or is greed destroying us and the world? Why do we aspire to the accoutrements of a "richer" life, at the cost of the tranquility and simpler pleasures already at our command, in our current situation? In what do "riches" consist, anyway? In this course we will be addressing these questions with the help of the eighteenth-century moral philosopher Adam Smith, also known as the father of economics. We will be reading extracts from Smith's renowned treatise "The Wealth of Nations" (1776) as well as his less familiar "Theory of Moral Sentiments" (1759), considering how this man of Enlightenment explored human nature and the development of our society, and developed a set of tools by which we can, all of us, enjoy richer lives within an "opulent" as well as free and equitable society.

The academic organising this topic is Dr Jonathan Conlin, Senior Lecturer in History.

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