The Wealth of Nations: Books I-III Paperback – 25 Feb 1982
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"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
About the Author
Adam Smith (1723-90) taught both logic and moral philosophy at Glasgow University. His Wealth of Nations revolutionised the economic theories of the time. Andrew Skinner teaches at the Adam Smith Institute and is an expert on the author's work.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is first and foremost a study, rather than any political manifesto or handbook for the new right. Drawing from a wide range of sources including ancient history, studies of colonies, of China, Russia, and even systems of slavery, Smith examines the system of economic development and economic competition. His discourse on the division of labor occurs early within the book, and moves toward studies of the nature of employment, of the motivation behind commerce and service, the origin and exchange of money, and the development of towns and countryside, and the interactions of the various economies.
Detractors and false heirs would do well to take note that Smith expresses a reserved attitude toward the nature of business owners, arguing that they will constantly seek to reduce wages. Further on in his study of the origin and exchange of money, he argues strongly against the excessive issuing of paper money and the printing of money, taking a very cautious tone against practices liable to cause devaluation.
His examination of banking is especially relevant for our modern times. He speaks of rationality within lending, but is not dismissive of blinded irresponsible lending, and speaks out against such a system remaining unrestrained.
An important legacy Smith lays out, which the isolationists on both sides of the political spectrum would do well to take note of, is his critique of the Mercantile system.Read more ›
On the other hand the set of two volumes has an amusingly surreal feature: Each volume contains an index to both volumes - but in Volume 1, references to Volume 2 have italic page numbers and in Volume 2 references to Volume 1 also have italic page numbers. At first this made me think that the index for Volume 1 was in Volume 2 and vice versa (and I've known it to happen ;-). See what you think if you buy it.
Apart from that the only thing I'd add is that if you are serious about reading Smith, then you should also read Marx's Capital and Keynes's General Theory because these works are, even now, the three most significant landmarks in the economic literature.
A must for every economist's shelf.
And it is true, as the reader from Melbourne says, that the book requires a great deal of dedication in places. At times Smith repeats the same point three, four even five times in short succession, always in the same carefuyl but ponderous prose. yet elsewhere, surprisingly, there are flashes of wit and humanity, alongside the great methodical reasoning and argument that make a philosophical work powerful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
first 3 volumes of the 'capitalist manifesto' :) - trade, price, tax etc. written in 1772 I think !Published 5 months ago by Y. Yordanov
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