It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest
When Adam Smith wrote that all our actions stem from self-interest and the world turns because of financial gain he brought to life 'economic man'. Selfish and cynical, economic man has dominated our thinking ever since and his influence has spread from the market to how we shop, work and date. But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest but out of love.
Today, our economics focuses on self-interest and excludes all other motivations. It disregards the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking. It insists that if women are paid less, then that's because their labour is worth less - how could it be otherwise?
Economics has told us a story about how the world works and we have swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. Now it's time to change the story.
In this courageous look at the mess we're in, Katrine Marcal tackles the biggest myth of our time and invites us to kick out economic man once and for all.
Katrine Marcal is a correspondent for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. On publication in Sweden, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner was shortlisted for The August Prize and won the Lagercrantzen Award. She lives in Hertfordshire.