IFF: What’s one important lesson economics teaches us?
Each of us depends on an intricate, complex division of labor for the most basic of our daily needs. Adam Smith wrestled with this problem 250 years ago by discussing the numerous workers who all contribute to fashioning a simple “woolen coat” on a “day laborer’s back.” Smith observes that in a single person’s lifetime, he scarce has time to make more than a few close friends. Yet, for every article of clothing he wears, he relies on the cooperation of a vast, anonymous multitude. It’s that cooperation which makes material flourishing possible in this present vail of tears. Economics explains the institutions that facilitate (and impede) that cooperation.