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Smith Soc Treks

Destination-Based Seminars for Student and Professional Members


Providing deeper connections between young business leaders and experts in business, public policy, and academia is an important part of our mission. In service of this mission, the Adam Smith Society hosts Smith Soc Treks, a series of destination-based, weekend-long retreats created to allow Smith Soc members to explore topics of interest and create deeper connections between members, business leaders and scholars with similar interests.

Each semester, Smith Soc convenes two all-expenses paid treks, where a small group of members will participate in relaxed but engaging seminar-style directed discussions.

One trek will focus on a key historical & philosophical question, and another on a current and pressing public policy issue; each trek’s sessions will be led by experts in the field. Smith Soc Treks will allow members from a variety of industries, geographic regions, and MBA programs to connect and interact, sharing intellectual conversations possible in few other venues. Treks are strictly for Adam Smith Society student and professional members and participants are chosen by application only.

Upcoming Treks

Stay tuned.

Past Treks

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. 

Free Trade

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

Past Treks

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.

Read 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. 

Smith 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?

Smith 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 report 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 National 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?

Click here to apply for one or both of the upcoming Treks. 
When Are Applications Due?

Applications are open now and will close this Sunday, September 10th. 

Applications for our early 2018 Smith Soc Treks are closed. Keep an eye out for our next round of treks!

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



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