• Benjamin Friedman
  • Michelle Sanchez


March 26, 2021, Video: "Where do our ideas about how the economy works, and our views on economic policy, come from? Critics of contemporary economics complain that belief in free markets, among economists as well as many ordinary citizens, is a form of religion. The foundational transition in thinking about what we now call economics, beginning in the eighteenth century, was decisively shaped by the hotly contended lines of religious thought at that time within the English-speaking Protestant world. Beliefs about God-given human character, about the afterlife, and about the purpose of our existence, were all under scrutiny in the world in which Adam Smith and his contemporaries lived. Even today, those long-ago religious debates go far in explaining the puzzling behavior of so many of our fellow citizens whose views about economic policies—and whose voting behavior—seems sharply at odds with what would be to their own economic benefit."

Non-HKS Author Websites - Benjamin Friedman and Michelle Sanchez