Smith continues to be an inspiration for economists who work in the history of ideas. A conference this week end, however, seeks to reclaim Smith's insights for political and social theorist. Columbia University's Seminar in Political and Social Thought is sponsoring "Reclaiming Adam Smith" with papers by Emma Rothschild, Sam Fleischaker and others. Papers can be downloaded only by members. Gavin Kennedy at ASLL has promised various reports! At APSA, Dennis Rasmussen has a paper on how and whether the Smithian impulse to "better our condition" really makes us better off. In Rasmussen's view, Smith's argument was that though we rail against commercial society for making us continually toil, we fail to see how the desire to better our condition -- though never entirely fulfilled -- leads us to lives of relative security, liberty, and even happiness.