We are Free Market

Humanitarians

An

Illustrious

intellectual
tradition

Adam Smith

The Scottish moral philosopher and political economist Adam Smith changed the course of history by arguing that open and free societies naturally generate human prosperity and economic growth. His market-liberal ideas have enriched nations whenever they have been tried, and are the bedrock of the modern world we live in today.

Stamford Raffles

Stamford Raffles is not only the founder of modern Singapore in 1819, of which he is most well-known. Raffles was also a strong proponent of free trade, setting Singapore on a path to becoming an open and prosperous hub of trade and immigration.

Friedrich Hayek

Friedrich Hayek is a well known political economist and social theorist in the 20th century and who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974. He is known for his warnings against excessive government intrusion into the market economy and how it would lead to tyranny. Hayek’s also influenced Singapore history though its first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who regarded him as a “very clear thinker” who “hit upon the eternal truth...that the free market is necessary to get the economy right.”

Build

THE FUTURE WITH US

The Adam Smith Center is the first and only independent organisation in Singapore dedicated to promoting pro-market principles in academia, public policy and wider society. Our mission is to inspire and build a new generation of free market humanitarians.

 

We believe that tomorrow's leaders should be grounded on the principles of individualism, free exchange, limited government & rule of law, and permissionless innovation, which are the driving forces for human welfare

Articles

AND
EVENTS

Econ 101 Does Not Only Justify Free Market Policies

In a recent Straits Times article, Benjamin Goh and Donald Low warned readers against the use of simplified economic theory in informing public policy. They point out that economic proposals such as free trade benefiting society and the minimum wage reducing employment may in fact simply be expressions of ‘the speaker’s ideology or dogma’, and…
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Political Freedom, Without Economic Freedom, Does Not Bring Growth

One of the most enduring questions in economics is what causes economies to grow. The full title of Adam Smith’s well-known treatise, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, clearly shows that the causes of prosperity were Smith’s primary concern. He concluded that free markets, the protection of private…
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What America Could Learn from Singapore’s Social Welfare System

A common libertarian view when it comes to welfare is that the role of the state should simply be restricted to providing a safety net. Such a basic net would guard society’s most economically vulnerable against falling through the cracks. Milton Friedman proposed a negative income tax as a way of encouraging the poor to…
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Nudging: Should We Be Wary of the Latest Fad in Behavioural Economics?

Behavioural economics has gained plenty of traction in the past few decades. The concept of ‘nudging’—popularised in the 2008 bestselling book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein—is well known in the political sphere and even to non-economic students. With Thaler being awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics and Sunstein…
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Stop Conflating Inequality With Poverty

The problem of inequality has often been considered to be one of the biggest social problems of our generation. Widespread concern about the great disparities of income and wealth have fueled anti-globalisation sentiments all around the world, and threaten to undermine the advances in trade, investment, and immigration we have seen. One key problem is that contemporary discussions of inequality…
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Singapore’s Greatest Resources Are Location and Liberty

Singapore is rightly heralded as a beacon of economic success and one of the freest economies in the world today, placing near the top of economic freedom indexes. Sizing up to only about two-thirds of New York City, the country is but a speck on the world map. Casually referred to as a ‘Little Red…
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In Response to Donald Low

Donald Low responded to my piece from yesterday. In his response, he now concedes that the concept of market failures is given coverage in introductory econ classes. But I’m afraid this was not the impression given to his readers from his original co-authored article, which in my opinion gave more the impression that Econ 101…
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Is Singapore a Libertarian Paradise?

Singapore is a young country, having only gained independence from the British in 1965. Since then, the country has been ruled solely by the People’s Action Party (PAP), headed by the revered statesman Lee Kuan Yew who is often credited as the “founding father” of Singapore. He passed away at the age of 91 in…
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Truth and Myth on the Gender Pay Gap

There are myths on both sides here, and taking steps toward gender equality requires an honest accounting of the economic and social facts. The ongoing battle over gender equality has turned the question of the relative pay of women and men into quite the political football. Over the last few years, defenders of markets, including me, have…
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There is No Such Thing as Trickle-Down Economics

Critics of liberalism and the market economy have made a long-standing habit of inventing terms we would never use to describe ourselves. The most common of these is ‘neo-liberal’ or ‘neo-liberalism’, which appears to mean whatever the critics wish it to mean to describe ideas they don’t like. To the extent the terms have clear…
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We Didn’t Humanise Markets, Markets Humanised Us

Over Labour Day weekend, I saw many friends arguing that labour unions and government intervention “humanised capitalism” by giving us the 8-hour workday, the 40-hour workweek, ending child labour, and so forth. Unfortunately, these folks have their history backward. We didn’t humanise capitalism, it humanised us. The wealth produced by capitalism allowed us to indulge…
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