Tom Flanagan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute, which is publishing his new book, The Wealth of First Nations
Adam Smith wrote in his 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations, that the “propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men.” And indeed, this must be extended to today’s First Nations – where achieving a higher living standard for these communities is a priority for Canadian policy-makers.
The best way to learn what works in that direction is to study the experts: those First Nations that are succeeding in delivering higher standards of living.
With indispensable help from younger researchers, I have studied First Nations’ success for the past six years, using the statistical tools of social science. The results show that Adam Smith was right. The wealth of First Nations, like the wealth of all countries, is generated by the invisible hand of market exchange, not by the all-too-visible hand of government regulations and subsidies.