This short video (thanks YouTube) was extracted from a long (10 hours) series that the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman made, for the US Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in 1980. In just a bit more than two minutes he explains what Adam Smith meant and why individuals, each specializing as (s)he can, then can come together to make great things or billions of small things. He says “Literally thousands of people co-operated to make this pencil. People who don’t speak the same language, who practice different religions, who might hate one another if they ever met! When you go down to the store and buy this pencil, you are in effect trading a few minutes of your time for a few seconds of the time of all those thousands of people. What brought them together and induced them to cooperate to make this pencil? There was no commissar sending … out orders from some central office. It was the magic of the price system: the impersonal operation of prices that brought them together and got them to cooperate, to make this pencil, so you could have it for a trifling sum … [and] … That is why the operation of the free market is so essential. Not only to promote productive efficiency, but even more to foster harmony and peace among the peoples of the world.“
Watch this, please, it’s only 2 minutes and 40 seconds or so … you’ll be glad you did.