Adam Smith: poverty and famine

police use tear gas during a communal riot in calcutta in

Co-hosted by the Voltaire Foundation and the TORCH Enlightenment Programme, this event will see David Wootton (Anniversary Professor of History, University of York) speak on the theme of ‘Adam Smith: poverty and famine’ as the 2017 Besterman Lecture.

In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith claims that all famines are made by governments – in a free trade economy starvation will never occur. What were Smith's grounds for making this remarkable claim? What did he know about famine? How does Smith's argument relate to Amartya Sen's recent claim that famines never occur in democracies? This lecture catches Smith defending the indefensible for partisan purposes.

This event is open to all. 

Drinks will be served after the event.


Humanities & Identities

Contact name: Kelsey Rubin-Detlev
Contact email:
Audience: Open to all