Renewing the tradition of intellectual travelers—Alexis de Tocqueville in American and Arthur Young in eighteenth—century France—Guy Sorman visted eighteen developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in two years, meeting with heads of states, peasants, philosphers, workers, entrepreneurs, and poets. He asks this question: Is poverty inevitable and irreversible? Sorman returned from his travels with some new and surprising answers. Viewing the whole spectrum of economic systems from Singapore to Cuba, Sorman sees the myth of socialist revolution collapsing in many places. The author concludes that "economic liberalism"—the concept that individuals in each society know better than politicians and bureaucrats what is best for their families and futures—is gaining ground.
The title of Guy Sorman's book pays homage to the great European economist Adam Smith and his book The Wealth of Nations. Smith was a moralist preoccuppied with the notion of social justice and a realist who believed in an unfettered free market. Sorman's study reiterates that the free market is the universal principle of development, that the free market works.