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Smith Soc Treks

Destination-Based Seminars for Student and Professional Members

Treks 2019


Smith Soc Treks immerse our members in destination-based, intellectual retreats that explore critical issues in business, industry, and economic theory and create deeper connections among Smith Soc members from around the world.

Adam Smith Society student and professional members are eligible to apply to Smith Soc Treks. Explore our membership options.

Upcoming Treks

Virtual Trek: Capitalism in Historical and Contemporary Context

The modern world looks entirely different from the pre-industrial era, with dramatic improvements in global prosperity and quality of life. What explains this change and its magnitude? How did it happen and what are the moral implications? What are some of the key issues concerning capitalism today? This three-part virtual trek will take a critical look at both theoretical and practical aspects of capitalism’s impact on the world, and the key thinkers and schools that explain the virtues of the free market.


Smith Soc Treks: Capitalism in Historical and Contemporary Context will take virtually on November 19, December 3, and December 10, 2020. Applications are currently closed.

Past Treks

Adam Smith on Ethics & Economics - Edinburgh, Scotland

EdinburghIs the well-being of the nation to be fundamentally linked with the wealth of the nation? Is it possible to reconnect moral philosophy with political economy? We explore selections from two of Adam Smith’s classic texts — the Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations — to examine what we, in the last fifty years, have come to call human capital, social capital, and most recently spiritual capital, alongside his commentary on physical capital.

Smith Soc Treks: Adam Smith on Ethics & Economics took place in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 14-17, 2019.

The Future Of Financial Services - Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson HoleJoin Charles Calomiris, Professor of Financial Institutions at Columbia Business School and expert on financial policy, in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an in-depth look at the future of financial services. From new asset management platforms and the rise of shadow banking to the regulatory challenges of building a stable value cryptocurrency and the role of central banks, we will delve into the myriad of ways that new technologies are shaping the future of the financial industry.

Smith Soc Treks: The Future Of Financial Services took place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on October 24-27, 2019. 

Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the Startup Nation - Israel

Israel is among the most dynamic, entrepreneurial countries in the world. How did it happen? During this trek, we will discuss the past, present and future of this remarkable country. With support from iTrek, we will meet with leaders from academia, business, and government with the aim of developing deep insight into the Startup Nation. In partnership with the Adam Smith Society's chapter at Hebrew University, trek participants engaged with future Israeli business leaders as well. 

IsraelSmith Soc Treks: Commerce and Entrepeneurship in the Startup Nation took place in Israel on March 18-24, 2019. 

Business & Government - Denver, Colorado

What is the proper relationship between business and government? When the lines between the two get blurred, and well-connected firms enjoy privilege, markets are distorted and the general public becomes skeptical of commerce and, consequently, capitalism itself. Join us as we explore the philosophical underpinnings of these important distinctions.

DenverSmith Soc Treks: Business & Government took place in Denver, Colorado on November 29- December 2, 2018.

The Blockchain Promise - Palm Springs, California

Blockchain technology promises to lead to a future in which we do not have to rely on centralized authority, and has the potential to disrupt legacy industries, such as banking and finance [and arguably big tech]. Join us and we discuss risks and opportunities associated with this technology.

Palm SpringsSmith Soc Treks: The Blockchain Promise? took place on October 18-21, 2018 in Palm Springs California.

The Future of Free Trade - Miami, Florida

What does free trade look like in a world without TPP and with NAFTA's fate uncertain? Together with leading experts on trade policy, we discussed the impulse for protectionism vis-à-vis the importance of free trade for global prosperity. 

MiamiSmith Soc Treks: The Future of Free Trade was held in Miami, Florida from April 26 through 29, 2018


Entrepreneurship, Prosperity and Culture - Laguna Beach, California

What is the current state of entrepreneurship in the United States, and what are its classical foundations? Exploring prominent texts by classical economists and theorists, we explored the philosophical underpinnings of entrepreneurship.

Laguna BeachRead a recap on the Trek HERE.

Smith Soc Treks: Entrepreneurship, Prosperity and Culture was held in Laguna Beach, California from February 22 through 25, 2018. This program was co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Liberty. 

Adam Smith on Ethics & Economics - Edinburgh, Scotland

Is the well-being of the nation to be fundamentally linked with the wealth of the nation? Is it possible to reconnect moral philosophy with political economy? We explored two of Adam Smith’s classic texts — the Theory of Moral Sentiments to and the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations — to examine what we, in the last fifty years, have come to call human capital, social capital, and most recently spiritual capital, alongside his commentary on physical capital. 

EdinburghSmith Soc Treks: Adam Smith on Ethics & Economics was be held in Edinburgh, Scotland from November 9-12, 2017 and led by Craig Smith, University of Glasgow. This program was co-sponsored by Liberty Fund and the Smith Society, and is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. 

Read a recap on the Trek HERE.

Work & Welfare in the 21st Century - Montreal, Canada

The slow-motion, generation-long collapse of America’s working class has vaulted into the national conscience. Many people fear, and Silicon Valley leaders predict, that some of the same forces pulling the working class down toward poverty will continue as automation and artificial intelligence transform the economy and perhaps render a large share of the workforce superfluous.

In response, proposals abound for the government to provide a “universal basic income” that would pay every person a livable stipend regardless of their income, or else a “job guarantee” that would offer public-sector work to all. What has actually happened to the American economy, what does the future hold, and how should we respond?

MontrealSmith Soc Treks: Work & Welfare in the 21st Century was held in Montreal, Canada from October 12-15, 2017 and led by Oren Cass, Manhattan Institute, & David Azerrad, The Heritage Foundation. 

Parties in the U.S.A. - Scottsdale, AZ

From the Civil War to the New Deal, America has been shaped by political upheavals—and it has emerged from those trials with lasting institutional and cultural changes. Today, Americans are wondering if the inauguration of President Trump and an insurgent Republican administration marks the beginning of a fundamental political and social realignment.

Smith Soc Treks: Parties in the USA was held in Scottsdale, AZ from June 8-11, 2017.  We situated the current state of the U.S. political parties in larger historical context with experts James W. Ceaser, Professor of Politics, University of Virginia; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, and Author, Defying the Odds: The 2016 Elections and American Politics, and Daniel DiSalvo, Associate Professor of Political Science, CUNY, City College; Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute and Author, Engines of Change: Party Factions in American Politics.

Read a report on the Trek HERE.

Rebooting Health Care - Napa Valley, CA

Health care is in dire need of a reboot, and the stakes continue to rise. The government has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, while keeping the law’s most popular provisions. New technologies are reshaping the face of diseases like cancer – but also potentially adding massive short run costs. Health care costs, after remaining steady for years, are again on the upswing. Entitlement programs are still on course to crush federal and state governments. In other sectors, technological advances, market competition, and consumerism are powerful forces for increasing productivity and lowering costs. Can they work in health care? If so, how can we best harness them?

Smith Soc Treks: Rebooting Health Care was held from March 9-12, 2017 in Napa Valley, California, featured a panel of guest experts:

  • Rena Conti, Associate Professor, University of Chicago

  • David Goldhill, President and CEO of GSN and author of Catastrophic Care

  • Paul Howard, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy

Read our report on the Trek HERE.

Capitalism vs. Socialism - Boca Raton, FL

Smith Soc Treks: Capitalism vs. Socialism was held from November 17-20, 2016 and focused on selections from the Adam Smith Society reader, What Adam Smith Knew: Moral Lessons on Capitalism from Its Greatest Champions and Fiercest Opponents. It was co-sponsored by The Liberty Fund. The Trek featured guest speakers:

  • James Otteson, Professor of Economics and Executive Director of the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism at Wake Forest University

  • Adam Hyde, Research Assistant Professor at Wake Forest in the BB&T Center

  • Amy Willis, Liberty Fund Fellow 

Read our report HERE.

The Future of America's Energy - Los Cabos, Mexico

Smith Soc Treks: The Future of America's Energy was held in Los Cabos, Mexico from October 7-10, 2016. This trek gave attendees a deep dive on energy policy. The Trek's featured guests were:

  • Mark Mills, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow & CEO of the Digital Power Group

  • Patrick Moore, Chairman and Chief Scientist of Ecosense Environmental.

Our recap on "The Future of America's Energy" is HERE.  


Who Can Apply for Treks?

All paid national members are eligible to apply for Treks.  

•    Students must be at least Student Members ($10 level)

•    Professionals must be at least General Members ($50 level)

Want to apply but not a paid member yet? Click here to join

How Do I Apply?

Members can apply to attend treks via the membership portal. Please email with any questions.


When Are Applications Due?

Applications for fall 2020 treks are open on a rolling basis until January 17, 2020.



For more information about Smith Soc Treks, please email us here


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