Out-of-classroom education

September 20, 2018 | By | Reply More

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IF there is only one economist you’ve heard of, it’s likely to be Adam Smith – arguably the best known of all economists, often referred to as the “father of capitalism”.
In his text “The Wealth of Nations”, Smith details the guiding principles of political economy; his image is on the back of the British £20 note. Now, his only surviving and final home in Edinburgh, Scotland, is set to reopen, thanks to the efforts of the Edinburgh Business School and Heriot-Watt University.
Prof Heather McGregor, the Business School Executive Dean, explains why the reopening of Panmure House was one of her priorities.
“Heriot-Watt University bought Panmure House nearly a decade ago, in that it can once again become a place for economic debate and a place where people convene to solve the big economic problems of the world – just as they did back in the 1790s.
“In fact, I find Adam Smith’s fame so much greater now than when he was alive in the 18th century, and I think we need him and his thoughts now, more than ever,” McGregor shares.
Smith and his ideas played a huge role in the shaping of modern economic thinking. In his first book, The Theory of Moral
Sentiments, he proposed the idea of the invisible hand – the tendency of free markets to regulate themselves by means of competition, supply and demand, and self-interest.
“Smith was a passionate advocate of the ability to trade freely and without barriers, and he had some ground-breaking thoughts about taxation and how nations should progress. He believed that if there was too big a gap between the very rich and the very poor, it would be extremely difficult for a nation to progress,” McGregor informed.
Today, more than two centuries after his death, Smith’s life and work continue to have
an effect on many individuals and organisations around the world, especially those who apply his principles to the modern-day political and economic processes.

Edinburgh Business School has over 10,000 students studying online and on campus programmes in Putrajaya, Edinburgh and Dubai. “We hope our students are proud to be connected with the school responsible for one of the key heritage sites linked to the modern economic thinking,” says McGregor who travels frequently to meet with students and alumni across the world.
“It is testament to the power of ideas that Smith has achieved the international reputation he holds today.
“Our School has played a part in bringing his home back to life, and I hope our current and aspiring MBA students in Malaysia can feel a little bit closer to the teachings of this great philosopher, economist and author,” McGregor concluded.
The Edinburgh Business School, HeriotWatt University, is planning an event to officially reopen Panmure House, which will serve as a venue for the kind of philosophical and economic discussions that Adam Smith was famed for hosting himself.

Visit panmurehouse.org for more information.

Left: McGregor delivering a speech at Panmure House.

Right: Panmure House, the final home of Adam Smith.

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