Jesse Norman at Literary Review:
The received view of Smith is as the founding father of laissez-faire economics (the institute that bears his name certainly provided intellectual fuel to the laissez-faire policies of Margaret Thatcher). But as Norman – mostly correctly – argues, this is wrong, or at least an incomplete view. His goal is to round it out. He is not engaged, however, in just an intellectual exercise. He is battling for the soul of modern conservatism and he wants Smith on his side.
In July 2008, a ten-foot statue of Smith was unveiled in Edinburgh. Behind him is a beehive, a tribute to Smith’s views on the link between individual endeavour and social order. His hand rests on a globe, a reminder of his support for free trade. The timing was inauspicious.