Adam Smith

Adam Smith The Wealth of Nations

Easton Press Adam Smith books

The Wealth of Nations

Franklin Library Adam Smith books

The Wealth of Nations - Great Books of the Western World - 1978

Gryphon Editions Adam Smith books

The Wealth of Nations - 2 volume set 
The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith biography

Adam Smith, a towering figure in the history of economics and philosophy, was born on June 5, 1723, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. He is widely regarded as the father of modern economics and a key figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, a period of intellectual and cultural flourishing in Scotland during the 18th century. Smith's early education began at the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy, where he displayed a remarkable aptitude for learning. He later attended the University of Glasgow, where he studied moral philosophy under the guidance of Francis Hutcheson, a prominent figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith's intellectual development was greatly influenced by the ideas of Hutcheson, who emphasized the importance of reason, sympathy, and moral sentiment in human behavior. Continuing his academic journey, Smith pursued further studies at Balliol College, Oxford, where he deepened his understanding of classical economics and philosophy. However, it was during his time as a lecturer at the University of Glasgow that Smith began to formulate his groundbreaking ideas on economics, which would later be published in his seminal work, The Wealth of Nations.

Published in 1776, The Wealth of Nations laid the foundation for modern economic theory and remains one of the most influential books ever written on the subject. In it, Smith expounded upon the principles of free-market capitalism, arguing that individuals acting in pursuit of their self-interest could unintentionally promote the social good through the mechanism of the invisible hand. He advocated for limited government intervention in the economy, emphasizing the importance of competition and specialization in driving economic prosperity.

Beyond his contributions to economics, Smith was also a prolific writer on moral philosophy. His earlier work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), explored the nature of human morality and the role of sympathy in moral judgment. In this work, Smith introduced the concept of the "impartial spectator," an imaginary observer whose perspective helps individuals assess the moral worth of their actions.

Throughout his life, Adam Smith held various academic and government positions, including serving as a customs commissioner in Scotland and as a tutor to the young Duke of Buccleuch. Despite his considerable influence and intellectual achievements, Smith lived a relatively quiet and modest life, devoted to scholarship and contemplation. Adam Smith passed away on July 17, 1790, leaving behind a profound legacy that continues to shape economic thought and political discourse to this day. His inspirational ideas on free markets, individual liberty, and the pursuit of self-improvement have profoundly influenced the development of modern capitalism in democratic society and remain important in contemporary debates about economic policy and social justice.

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