December 16, 2023
Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Adam Smith
300 Year Anniversary
1723 – 2023

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages."

"Every individual... neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it... he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

"Commerce and manufactures can seldom flourish long in any state which does not enjoy a regular administration of justice, in which the people do not feel themselves secure in the possession of their property, in which the faith of contracts is not supported by law, and in which the authority of the state is not supposed to be regularly employed in enforcing the payment of debts from all those who are able to pay. Commerce and manufactures, in short, can seldom flourish in any state in which there is not a certain degree of confidence in the justice of government."

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

This year marks the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith – a pioneer political economist, philosopher, and author, with immense impact on human history in modern time. To commemorate this significant milestone, Van Lang University is honoured to hold the symposium “Tercentenary Symposium on Adam Smith: The Enduring Thoughts of ‘the Father of Economics’” on December 16th, 2023.

Adam Smith, a luminary of the Enlightenment era, stands as an intellectual giant whose ideas have reverberated through the centuries, shaping the very foundations of modern economics, politics, and society. His seminal work, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, published in 1776, remains a touchstone for scholars and policymakers worldwide, and his profound insights into the principles of free markets, division of labour, and “the invisible hand” continue to influence our global economic discourse.

Smith’s thoughts on the pursuit of self-interest, the importance of competition, and the roles of markets and governments in fostering prosperity are as pertinent today as they were in his era. Human society has evolved substantially since Smith’s time with the market mechanism becoming a common of the contemporary world. However, the nature of market institutions in some parts of the world, e.g. East Asia, may differ considerably from those of the origin of capitalism – western countries, which reflects the essence of our world’s heterogeneity. In addition, the emerging characteristics such as rapid technological advancement, intense globalization, and multiple socio-economic complexities may add more nuance to the landscape. The reflection on Smith’s thoughts may shed some light on our re-perception about the contemporary socio-economic systems.

As we gather in this symposium to celebrate this remarkable milestone, we reflect not only on Adam Smith’s historical significance but also on the relevance of his ideas today. The symposium serves as a platform for scholars, economists, and policy practitioners worldwide to engage in a thoughtful exploration of Adam Smith’s enduring legacy. Through a series of keynote presentations, scholarly exchanges, and engaging discussions, we aim to critically examine and reflect on Smith’s ideas while drawing implications for better informing policy formulation.

The one-day symposium consists of two sessions. The morning session, “Adam Smith’s Thoughts and Legacy: Tercentenary in Retrospect”, discusses various aspects of Adam Smith’s thoughts and their significant impact, while the afternoon session, “‘The Wealth of Nations’ and Implications for Economic Reforms in Vietnam”, focuses on the implications of Adam Smith’s legacy for economic reforms toward a market economy in Vietnam. Each session will include a series of lectures and a roundtable discussion.


Time & Venue

  • Time: Saturday, December 16, 2023, 8:00 – 17:00
  • Venue: Van Lang University, 69/68 Dang Thuy Tram, Ward 13, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Speakers & Panelists

  • Prof. Tran Le Anh, USA
  • Dr. Tran Quoc Hung, USA
  • Prof. Edmund Malesky, USA
  • Prof. Le Van Cuong, France
  • Prof. Tran Van Tho, Japan
  • Assoc. Prof. Vu Minh Khuong, Singapore
  • Dr. Nguyen Xuan Xanh, Vietnam
  • Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Vietnam
  • Assoc. Prof. Tran Dinh Thien, Vietnam
  • Dr. Vo Tri Thanh, Vietnam
  • Dr. Le Dang Doanh, Vietnam
  • Dr. Tran Du Lich, Vietnam
  • Dr. Nguyen Tu Anh, Vietnam


  • Welcome

    8:00 - 8:20
  • Opening remarks

    8:20 - 8:30
  • Morning Session

  • The Significance of Adam Smith on His 300th Birthday Celebration

    8:30 - 9:00
    Dr. Nguyen Xuan Xanh
  • Adam Smith’s Thoughts through the Ages

    9:00 - 9:30
    Dr. Tran Quoc Hung
  • The Relevance of Adam Smith for Today

    9:30 - 9:55
    Prof. Tran Le Anh
  • Break

    9:55 - 10:10
  • Some Observations on the Process of Absorbing Adam Smith’s Ideas in Vietnam

    10:10 - 10:40
    Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Duc Thanh
  • Panel discussion

    10:40 – 11:40
  • Lunch

    11:40 – 13:00
  • Afternoon Session

  • Adam Smith, Vietnam and Market Economy

    13:00 – 13:25
    Prof. Tran Van Tho
  • From “The Wealth of Nations” to East Asian Miracles: Some Lessons for Vietnam

    13:25 – 13:50
    Assoc. Prof. Vu Minh Khuong
  • Labour, Capital, Organization and Growth: Why corruption matters?

    13:50 – 14:15
    Prof. Le Van Cuong
  • Break

    14:15 – 14:30
  • The Invisible Hand of Corruption: Why More Productive Firms Are Less Susceptible to Bribery?

    14:30 – 14:55
    Prof. Edmund Malesky
  • Market and Competition: Perspectives from Traditional and New Contexts

    14:55 – 15:20
    Dr. Vo Tri Thanh
  • Panel discussion

    15:20 – 16:55
  • Closing remarks

    16:55 – 17:00


Registration for the symposium is via this link. Due to the limited capacity of the symposium, the Organization Commitee will send you a confirmation for in-person attendance. In case there is no more space for in-person attendance, we will send a link for you to participate online.
For further information, please contact the Organization Committee at adamsmith@vlu.edu.vn.

Organization Committee

  • Prof. Nguyen Minh Tho, Institute for Computational Science & Artificial Intelligence
  • Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Tien Hoang, Faculty of Finance and Banking
  • Dr. Nguyen Quynh Mai, Faculty of Business Administration
  • Mr. Nguyen Chi Hieu, Office of the President