Synopses & Reviews
The classic economic treatise that inspired Thomas Pikettys Capital in the Twenty-First Century
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest
With this landmark treatise on political economy, Adam Smith paved the way for modern capitalism, arguing that a truly free market fired by competition yet guided as if by an invisible hand to ensure justice and equality was the engine of a fair and productive society. Books IIII of the Wealth of Nationsexamine the division of labour as the key to economic growth, by ensuring the interdependence of individuals within society. They also cover the origins of money, the importance of wages, profit, rent and stocks. Smiths work laid the foundations of economic theory in general and classical economics in particular, but the real sophistication of his analysis derives from the fact that it also encompasses a combination of ethics, philosophy and history to create a vast panorama of society.
This edition contains an analytical introduction offering an in-depth discussion of Smith as an economist and social scientist, as well as a preface, further reading and explanatory notes.
The Wealth of Nations Books IV-V are also published in Penguin Classics.
It is in Books IV and V of The Wealth of Nations that Adam Smith offers his considered response to the French Physiocrats, perhaps the first great school of economic theorists, and assesses the nature of the mercantile system, particularly the colonial relationship with America, whose achievements could have been even more spectacular if conditions of free trade and economic union had existed. Even on the eve of the Declaration of Independence, Smith famously predicted that America "will be one of the foremost nations of the world." It is also here that he develops the case for a limited state role in economic planning, notably to combat market failure and induce efficiency in areas such as education, public works, justice, and defense. His pioneering analysis still provides many subtle and penetrating insights into one of today's most vital and controversial policy debates.
Books I-III of "The Wealth of Nations" examine the "division of labour" as the key to economic growth, by ensuring the interdependence of individuals within society. They also cover the origins of money, the importance of wages, profit, rent and stocks.
Includes bibliographical references and index.