The Wealth of Nations and Essay on Population

An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations

Author: Adam Smith. A pioneering economist who developed revolutionary concepts associated with free market economic theory. He argued that rational people, acting in their own self-interest, could create en efficient economic system. He studied in England but was of Scottish decent. He was influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment.

Context: The work was published in 1776. It was published during the beginning of the industrial revolution in response to the outdated economic ideas of the time.… Read the rest here

ACLAIMing a Great Method for Primary Sources

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations:

 

Author: Adam Smith (1723-1790)

  • British philosopher and key member of the Scottish Enlightenment period; the “father of modern economics”; lots of higher education at the University of Glasgow and Oxford (although he preferred to study on his own when at Oxford).
  • Born into a relatively well-off family; father worked for the government; Smith was able to attend a relatively prestigious school.
  • Close relationship with David Hume, a fellow Scottish intellectual
  • The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) made Adam Smith well known in his area
    • Gets him a tutoring job with a young Duke
  • Tutoring job enabled Smith to travel and meet various intellectual greats in the areas he traveled to
    • One of which was Turgot!
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Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Malthus’ Essay on Population

The Wealth of Nations, 1776

Author: Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher, and is known as “the father of modern economics.” He enjoyed a thorough education at the University of Glasgow, and after graduating traveled around Europe as a tutor.

Context: Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations during the Industrial Revolution. It was published shortly after Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. At the time, Great Britain’s economy was booming, and it’s imperialist influence was spreading through Africa, the Americas, and Asia.… Read the rest here

On Division of Labor

Smith states that the division of labor significantly improves the productive power in manufacture through three ways: the increased dexterity of workman by repetition, the reduced time brought by the quick transition between workers, and the efficiency brought by the machines. These workers, who perform repetitive and tedious work in order to make accommodations, are only a small part of labor in the industry world. A large quantity and variety of labor is needed in every chain of the manufacturing industry, from collecting the raw material to transporting goods from one place to another.… Read the rest here

The Wealth of Nations and Essay on Population

Chapter 1 of Smith’s famous text argued that specialization is key to economic growth. He explained how making each man a master of his particular trade makes production faster and leads to further innovation; a cycle of rapid growth then ensues. This growth spreads more wealth over more people, narrowing the gap between princes and peasants. Malthus, in his First Essay on Population, debunked Godwin’s argument that a more egalitarian society and economics will end poverty.… Read the rest here