Introductory remarks by Martin Panek, Director of the Liberální Institut, at the celebration of Adam Smith’s 300th anniversary.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and fellow enthusiasts of economic thought, welcome to the grand celebration of intellectual brilliance and free-market principles! In church, they told me Adam was the first man, in school, they told me Adam was the first economist. Tonight, we gather under the sparkling lights to commemorate a true giant of economic theory, the legendary Adam Smith, on the occasion of his 300th birthday.
Hosted by our Czech think tank, the Liberální Institut, this event (the 26th Annual Lecture) is a tribute to the enduring impact of Adam Smith’s ideas, which have shaped the world as we know it today. As we embark on this joyous journey through time, we are reminded of the invaluable contributions of this Scottish philosopher and economist who dared to challenge the status quo.
Tonight, we pay homage to the genius behind “The Wealth of Nations” and “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, masterpieces that continues to enlighten and inspire generations of thinkers. Adam Smith’s keen observations, profound insights, and unwavering belief in the power of individual freedom have left an indelible mark on economic theory, politics, and society at large.
In true Adam Smith fashion, we aim to foster an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and lively exchange of ideas. So, grab a glass of your favorite beverage, engage in enlightening conversations, and allow your minds to soar as we explore the world through the lens of free markets, individual liberty, and the invisible hand.
But fear not, dear attendees, for tonight is not just about profound discussions and deep contemplation. We invite you to indulge in the spirit of celebration, for birthdays are meant to be joyous occasions! Let laughter fill the air and revel in the merriment as we toast to the legacy of Adam Smith, a man who revolutionized economic thought, without losing our sense of humor.
As we commemorate the birth of this intellectual luminary, let us also reflect on the relevance of his ideas in our modern world. From the bustling streets of Prague to the farthest corners of the globe, Adam Smith’s teachings continue to guide us toward greater prosperity, self-reliance, and societal progress. I was an exchange student in China once. Even there, they had Adam Smith’s statue in the university library. Or Yadang Simi’s statue, I should say. No matter what script people use to transcribe his name, no matter what language they use to talk about him, he remains a person to talk about, to sing about, to tweet about, to TikTok about… or to lecture about as we are about to witness.
So, ladies and gentlemen, let us embark on this delightful journey together – a celebration of ideas, of freedom, and of the extraordinary intellectual legacy of Adam Smith. Tonight, we honor a man whose brilliance continues to shape the world, and in doing so, we embrace the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.
Cheers to Adam Smith’s 300th birthday, and to the enduring power of ideas that transcend time!