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Saving Adam Smith: A Tale of Wealth, Transformation, and Virtue by Jonathan B. Wight

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Chapter 9 The Poor Man's Son

"There's a paradox," I said to Smith as we pulled back on the highway. "You're animated about expanding wealth, yet the first time we spoke, you bit my head off for saying wealth was the objective."

"I'm an empiricist." Smith said, rapping the dashboard. "I like to record observable facts. As such, it's my obligation to examine whether material things make people happy. The issue is complicated, I'll admit, but are economists today so narrow-minded the issue doesn't seem important?"

I felt rebuked. "A growing national output or GDP is almost always considered a sign of a 'healthy' economy," I replied. "Oh, there are people on the fringes who talk about Small is Beautiful and the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)—which ...

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