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Adam Smith

Inquiry Into The Nature & Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations, Volume 1

Inquiry Into The Nature & Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations, Volume 1

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First published in 1776; the year in which the American Revolution officially began; Smith’s Wealth of Nations sparked a revolution of its own. In it Smith analyzes the major elements of political economy; from market pricing and the division of labor to monetary; tax; trade; and other government policies that affect economic behavior. Throughout he offers seminal arguments for free trade; free markets; and limited government. Criticizing mercantilists who sought to use the state to increase their nations’ supply of precious metals; Smith points out that a nation’s wealth should be measured by the well-being of its people. Prosperity in turn requires voluntary exchange of goods in a peaceful; well-ordered market. How to establish and maintain such markets? For Smith the answer lay in man’s social instincts; which government may encourage by upholding social standards of decency; honesty; and virtue; but which government undermines when it unduly interferes with the intrinsically private functions of production and exchange.


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