The Shepheard Walwyn Podcast

Dominic Frisby Part 2 - What does real capitalism look like? Adam Smith and the Edinburgh Fringe

April 11, 2022

Welcome back to the podcast. I am your host Jonathan Brown. Today we continue our conversation with Dom Frisby. We move the conversation into Dom’s great documentary about Adam Smith and the Edinburgh fringe – essentially an exploration of how individuals can self organise to create brilliance than the elite can plan it.  We then take a look at Dom’s views on education and how we can create much more space for choice and self-organising.

I then look at Dom’s free documentary about Adam Smith and give some pointers on what to look out for.

Here’s the time stamps for this conversation.

1.30      Welcome back – Adam Smith, the Edinburgh fringe and self-organising economies.

9.00      The importance of voluntary action to create a freer and fairer economic system.

11.00   Education and how we could improve outcomes through more choice.

16.00   The difficulty in predicting collapse even though it’s obvious a system can’t support itself.


Some thoughts on watching Dom’s excellent documentary on Adam Smith.

We talk about Dom’s documentary in this part of the talk. I encourage you to watch it and to consider there are things you could do to increase individual actions and choice in your community. The Fringe was founded due to restrictions on who was allowed to perform at the Edinburgh Festival. If you weren’t posh enough, if you weren’t worthy as determined by the organisers you weren’t allowed to take part. So, the first acts went there – at their own cost – and offered something they felt people would like to see – and they were right. 

It's easy to get into the weeds with Smith and the classical economists but Dom’s work makes it much clearer. So look at how the Fringe developed to become the economy and how one comedian managed to change the economics and format of the Fringe forever – and how finding a way to give away your service (in this case a comedy act) meant people were finally able to make money.

It starts with putting Adam Smith in context. Whilst he’s credited with effectively founding English-speaking economics, his work is rarely studied anymore. Smith is like Darwin: people quote him but hardly anyone has read the actual work.

Fascinatingly, Smith wrote A Theory of Moral Sentiments as an advertisement for his lecture series. He also talks about how Smith was able to travel around Europe learning from some of the greatest thinkers in Europe.

There are some great interviews with some of the UK’s top comedians and the most popular acts at the Fringe. At the heart though is a model for entrepreneurial action and how economies can self regulate.



You can watch Dom’s ode to Adam Smith and the Edinburgh Fringe here.

What’s also worth a listen is how the film came about and how the problem of centrally planned media is still alive and well. Entrepreneurship is essentially problem solving or “scratching your own itch” and finding a market.


His free investment focused YT channel is here.


Also, be sure to check out Dom’s comedy here.

Maybe is one of my favourites.

If you get chance to see him live, he’s a hoot and the crowd’s pretty decent too!

Also subscribe to his newsletter – he’s been a lot busier than expected since the crisis in Ukraine.

There’s a free version so go with that first.

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