Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations’ is Still Relevant to UK Trade Policymaking on International Trade

This article reviews Adam Smith’s clearly articulated views about the desirability of free trade and his equally strong view on the necessity of sound institutions and ‘the tolerable administration of justice’ as key ingredients of successful economic management.

Pub. Date
04 January, 2024

Main Points

  • Adam Smith's framework and analysis provide a clear lens through which to observe several elements of contemporary UK trade policy.
  • Smith was a proponent of gravity in trade. He identified proximity as a key stimulus to trade, and it still is.
  • Over 250 years after he wrote them, Adam Smith's words bear on so many of the trade-policy decisions and debates of the 2020s.