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The Essential Adam Smith Kindle Edition
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Analytical Review: Heilbroner says that many people quote Adam Smith for their ideas, without actually having read Smith. This short work should help correct that, and I would recommend it (especially for the second half on The Wealth of Nations) as a concise introduction to Smith's thought. Both books would be over three times the length of this volume, so Heilbroner has slimmed the work down considerably, without sacrificing too much of its important meaning. Reading Smith, one is surprised how much his labor theory of value initially correspond to that of Marx, but Smith is much more comfortable with the use of money, and shifts away from the labor theory to market and exchange as the center of value. Like Marx's Capital, there may be parts to agree with, parts to dissent from here. Smith clearly would not give "carte blanche" to the capitalist, as many later thinkers would maintain. In fact Smith quite succinctly says that we should very skeptical of any legislation that is heavily sponsored by the commercial sector, as their interests are often contrary to the public interest. While Smith champions the free market, he has also some consideration for the poor. What he lacks, however, is the crystal clear solidarity with the working poor that is demonstrated in Marx's Capital. Smith's theory makes it seem as if capitalism results in a tide of wealth where all boats rise. This indeed may be true, but it also results in very gross and considerable inequalities. If people would read both works before they may hasty judgments about capitalism or socialism, it would certainly be beneficial.