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The Wealth Of Nations : Books 1-3 : Complete And Unabridged Paperback – 15 Feb 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (15 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438284454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438284453
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.7 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,393,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Adam Smith's enormous authority resides, in the end, in the same property that we discover in Marx: not in any ideology, but in an effort to see to the bottom of things."
--Robert L. Heilbroner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Adam Smith (1723-1790) was born in Glasgow and after being educated in Glasgow and Oxford, he held a number of academic posts before becoming tutor to the young Duke of Buccleuch. This post took him to France where he began writing his political treatise, THE WEALTH OF NATIONS.
Andrew S. Skinner is Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus at Glasgow University and has published widely on Adam Smith and is the editor of the first three volumes of THE WEALTH OF NATIONS for Penguin.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the concluding two 'books' of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, which originally appeared in five 'books' in 1776 and is a classic description of an early capitalist economy where agriculture is still a prominent feature. The original Penguin edition from the 1970s had only the first three books, apparently on the assumption that these were the most relevant to technical economic theory, which at that time was associated with Keynes and highly regarded. Of course back in those days, with the Soviet Union still on the go, the labour theory of value was reckoned a precursor of Marxism and that's in the first three books too.

Nowadays though, Smith's concluding attack on state expenditure in Book five, which is excellently written, grabs most attention. The idea is that, having covered creation of wealth, he now covers taxation and government spending. He argues that a market economy should be allowed to grow with light regulation and limited assistance from public works and education. The application of the idea of self-interest to the design of systems where it works to social advantage is also relevant to modern economic theories of system design. Book four is a review of preceding economic theory.

So the modern reader new to Smith has the choice of looking for a one-volume edition of the whole five books or going for this two-volume version. You would still get something out of the rhetoric of book five on its own, though I'd recommend perhaps reading that first, but still looking at the whole thing to get the most out of it.
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I have read Karl Marx's and Max Weber's work, and this completes the collection. Smith is perhaps one of the greatest economic thinkers of his time. I am enjoying the book - however, still more to read. Onwards and upwards!
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Language is much more 'Jane Austen' than I was expecting. Many points are re-stated from different perspectives with different evidence but can be skipped over (most of the 2nd 50% of the book can be flipped through)

Crucially: Smith cuts straight to the core and clarifies the issues that have confused decision makers prior to his writings. The amazing thing is that the general public, the media and politicians are still confused by it! They should all read Wealth of Nations.
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The reviewer who says this edition is abridged is wrong - the Wordworth Editions website says the book was labled 'abridged' on the book's cover in error - and this will be corrected in future editions.

Much of the book is impenetrable - not to say at times boring. But it can also be entertaining and very interesting. At least 20% of the book is very readable - principally these sections:-

Book 1 Chapter 1, 2 and 3 - pages 9 to 26
Book 3 all four chapters - pages 372 to 414
Book 4 chapter 7 part I - pages 551 to 560
and part III - pages 586 to 639
pages 656 - 660 (begining with the words “The exportation...”)
Book 5 Chapter 1, Parts 1 - pages 691 to 708
and Part 2 - pages 708 to 721
and Part 3- Article 2 - pages 758 to 784
pages 951 - 954 the last pages in the book (begining with words: “It is not contrary...”)
These pages have as much to do with history and sociology as they have to do with economics.
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This is a good quality book, however the product description does not make it clear that this is an abridged edition of Adam Smith's work. If you want to read the whole thing, buy something else.
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Very useful if you are interested in - or studying economics - a classic - and when read completely reveals a different overview than you might expect for the overused quotes and Smith snippets you come across
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A great follow-up to the earlier books giving an over-view of global economics. Apart from its intrinsic value it was written at an interesting point in history and any knowledge of background events gives it another dimension. Both this and the earlier books should be required reading for anyone studying the subject.
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Format: Paperback
Smith's argument for a free market economy. The end result of which would include high wages.low prices and the abolition of monopolies. Much misunderstood by right wing think tanks bearing his name, his outlook was later subverted by figures like Malthus and Ricardo.

Much much more to it than the "invisible hand of reason" that is basically all that has been taken from it.
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