Maria Pia Paganelli, The Importance of Adam Smith’s Ideas Today

Estefanía Campos  | 02 de octubre de 2019  | Vistas: 165

Maria Pia Paganelli converses about the importance of Adam Smith’s ideas in the 21rst century.

Maria says, Smith’s ideas regarding human beings and institutions are still relevant today, because a good understanding of our interaction with these, helps us understand our powers and limitations in politics and economics. Later she argues that even though for Adam Smith we are innately homogeneous, we become different depending on our environment and the culture we are exposed to. These differences in culture, model the types of institutions we create to organize societies.

Culture and institutions are linked to the state of society (...) a society of hunters is going to have norms and institutions that are going to be quite different from a society of merchants”.

Later Paganelli and Luis Figueroa talk about the tension between Adam Smith’s published books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations, that aimed to discredit his work in the 19th century.

If you carefully read both books I think it is possible to see how well connected they are”.

Neuroeconomics is another subject that interests Paganelli. She explains what is this field of study and its relationship to Adam Smith’s ideas and the understanding of economics as a science. Humans are mostly motivated by emotions for this author, not necessarily by a strict cost-benefit analysis, which is what instead standard economics would.

It questions some of the assumptions that economics have relied upon in the last few decades in the last century”.

Finally Maria talks about the role of rationality, that for her is a secondary role in our lives because our emotions, feelings and passions are the ones that drives us. It helps us understand reality but it is not the main motivation in our lives.


Master in Economics and professor


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín