Adam Smith and the Bankers: Retrospect and Prospect

Adam Smith promoted free banking – private, competitive, convertible banknotes. He also supported restrictions on banks. In modern parlance,Smith supported macroprudential regulations to underpin monetary stability. This article discusses why Smith’s vision for banking went unrealised and what lessons we might learn for todays policies.

Pub. Date
04 January, 2024

Main Points

  • Adam Smith's model of a "safe" banking system in his day;
  • The problems which Smith identified to justify regulating banks;
  • The reasons why his vision of a good banking system was not realised;
  • The links between banks and currency stability;
  • Applying Smith's insights today.