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An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations


An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations was recognized as a landmark of human thought upon its publication in 1776. As the first scientific argument for the principles of political economy, it is the point of departure for all subsequent economic thought. Smith's theories of capital accumulation, growth, and secular change, among others, continue to be influential in modern economics.

This reprint of Edwin Cannan's definitive 1904 edition of The Wealth of Nations includes Cannan's famous introduction, notes, and a full index, as well as a new preface written especially for this edition by the distinguished economist George J. Stigler. Mr. Stigler's preface will be of value for anyone wishing to see the contemporary relevance of Adam Smith's thought.


The classic eighteenth-century treatise on the principles of political economics is presented in a definitive text with full annotations and historical introduction.

Table of Contents

Volume One

Preface, 1976, by George J. Stigler


Editor's Introduction

Introduction and Plan of the work

Book 1

Of the Causes of Improvement in the productive Powers of Labour, and of the Order according to which its Produce is naturally distributed among the different Ranks of the People

1. Of the Division of Labour

2. Of the Principle which gives Occasion to the Division of Labour

3. That the Division of Labour is Limited by the Extent of the Market

4. Of the Origin and Use of Money

5. Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities, or of their Price in Labour, and their Price in Money 6. Of the Component Parts of the Price of Commodities

7. Of the Natural and Market Price of Commodities

8. Of the Wages of Labour

9. Of the Profits of Stock

10. Of Wages and Profit in the Different Employments of Labour and Stock

Part I - Inequalities arising from the Nature of the Employments themselves

Part II - Inequalities occasioned by the Policy of Europe

11. Of the Rent of Land

Part I - Of the Produce of Land which always affords Rent

Part II - Of the Produce of Land which sometimes does, and sometimes does not afford Rent

Part III - Of the Variations in the Proportion between the respective Values of that Sort of Produce which always affords Rent, and of that which sometimes does and sometimes does not afford Rent

Digression concerning the Variations in the Value of Silver during the Course of the Four last Centuries: First Period, 1350-1570

Second Period, 1570-1640

Third Period, 1637-1776

Variations in the Proportion between the respective Values of Gold and Silver

Grounds of the Suspicion that the Value of Silver still continues to decrease

Different Effects of the Progress of Improvement upon three different Sorts of rude Produce

First Sort

Second Sort

Third Sort

Conclusion of the Digression concerning the Variations in the Value of Silver

Effects of the Progress of Improvement upon the real Price of Manufactures

Conclusion of the Chapter

Book II

Of the Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock


1. Of the Division of Stock

2. Of Money Considered as a particular Branch of the General Stock of the Society, or of the Expence of Maintaining the National Capital

3. Of the Accumulation of Capital, or of Productive and Unproductive Labour

4. Of Stock Lent at Interest

5. Of the Different Employment of Capitals

Book III

Of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations

1. Of the Natural Progress of Opulence

2. Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the Ancient State of Europe after the Fall of the Roman Empire

3. Of the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns, after the Fall of the Roman Empire

4. How the Commerce of the Towns Contributed to the Improvement of the Country

Book IV

Of Systems of Political Economy


1. Of the Principle of the Commercial or Mercantile System

2. Of Restraints upon the Importation from Foreign Countries of such Goods as can be Produced at Home

3. Of the extraordinary Restraints upon the Importation of Goods of almost all Kinds, from those Countries with which the Balance is supposed to be Disadvantageous

Part I - Of the Unreasonableness of those Restraints even upon the Principles of the Commercial System

Digression concerning Banks of Deposit, particularly concerning that of Amsterdam

Part II - Of the Unreasonableness of those extraordinary Restraints upon other Principles

Volume Two

Book IV

4. Of Drawbacks

5. Of Bounties

Digression concerning the Corn Trade and Corn Laws

6. Of Treaties of Commerce

7. Of Colonies

Part I - Of the Motives for establishing new Colonies

Part II - Causes of the Prosperity of new Colonies

Part III - Of the Advantages which Europe has derived from the Discovery of America, and from that of a Passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope

8. Conclusion of the Mercantile System

9. Of the Agricultural Systems, or of those Systems of Political (Economy, which Represent the Produce of Land as either the Sole or the Principal Source of the Revenue and Wealth of Every Country

Book V

Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth

1. Of the Expences of the Sovreign or Commonwealth

Part I - Of the Expence of Defence

Part II - Of the Expence of Justice

Part III - Of the Expence of public Works and public Institutions

Article 1st - Of the public Works and Institutions for facilitating the Commerce of the Society

1st, For facilitating the general Commerce of the Society

2dly, For facilitating particular Branches of Commerce

Article 2d - Of the Expence of the Institutions for the Education of Youth

Article 3d - Of the Expence of the Institutions for the Instruction of People of All Ages

Part IV - Of the Expence of supporting the Dignity of the Sovereign Conclusion of the Chapter

2. Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society

Part I - Of the Funds or Sources of Revenue which may peculiarly belong to the Sovereign or Commonwealth

Part II - Of Taxes

Article 1st - Taxes upon Rent. Taxes upon the Rent of Land

Taxes which are proportioned, not to the Rent, but to the Produce of Land

Taxes upon the Rent of Houses

Article 2d - Taxes upon Profit, or upon the Revenue arising from Stock

Taxes upon the Profit of particular Employments

Appendix to Articles 1st and 2d - Taxes upon the capital Value of Lands, Houses, and Stock

Article 3d - Taxes upon the Wages of Labour

Article 4th - Taxes which, it is intended, should fall indifferently upon every different Species of Revenue

Capitation Taxes

Taxes upon consumable Commodities

3. Of Public Debts

Appendix on the Herring Bounty

Index I - Subjects

Index II - Authorities

Product Details

Cannan, Edwin
Cannan, Edwin
Smith, Adam
Stigler, George J.
University of Chicago Press
Chicago :
United States - Colonial Period
Economics - Theory
Economic History
United States / Colonial Period(1600-1775)
Economics - General
Edition Number:
Facsimile ed.
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Volume I: liv, 524 p.; Volume II: 568 p.
8 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » US History » Colonial America
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science

An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations New Trade Paper
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Product details 1152 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226763743 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The classic eighteenth-century treatise on the principles of political economics is presented in a definitive text with full annotations and historical introduction.
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