The Wealth of Nations

With an introduction by Jonathan B. Wight, University of Richmond

By Adam Smith

Published: 14/06/2007
Pages: 696

The Wealth of Nations is a treasured classic of political economy. First published in March of 1776, Adam Smith wrote the book to influence a special audience – the British Parliament – and its arguments in the early spring of that year pressed for peace and cooperation with Britain’s colonies rather than war.

Smith’s message was that economic exploitation, through the monopoly trade of empire, stifled wealth-creation in both home and foreign lands. Moreover, protectionism preserved the status quo, and privileged a few elites at the expense of long run growth.

Smith wrote, “It is the industry which is carried on for the benefit of the rich and the powerful that is principally encouraged by our mercantile system. That which is carried on for the benefit of the poor and the indigent is too often either neglected or oppressed.”

This edition, based on the classic Cannan version of the text, includes a foreword by George Osborne MP and an introduction by Jonathan B. Wight, University of Richmond, which aims to place the work in a business context. Wight also provides an invaluable ‘Notable Quotes’ section where he extracts and categorises some of the most famous and pertinent sections of Smith’s work.

This classic work is as essential today as it was when it first written.



About the author

Adam Smith

Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher and pioneering political economist and one of the key figures of the intellectual movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment.

He is now depicted on the back of the brand new £20 note.

Reviews

“Adam Smith was the first to see that the measure of a nation’s wealth was not money, but the industry and enterprise of its people. That a thriving and growing economy could lift whole nations out of poverty. And that the keys to economic growth were incentives, free enterprise, and productivity. That makes The Wealth of Nations just as relevant today as when it was written. So I am delighted to see this handsome new edition.

For years I have looked around for a really nice hardback edition of The Wealth of Nations without finding one. But this new edition is splendid, the sort of thing I am pleased to have on my shelf, and which would make a fine gift too.

An enormously useful feature of this edition is the selection of famous quotes at the beginning. Smith’s insightful epigrams such as “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest” and his famous remarks on the “invisible hand” can be hard to find in the original, but here they all are, laid out easily and accessibly. There is also a brief guide which explains to the reader what Smith was trying to do in each section of the work, which makes reading it much easier.”

– Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute

“Adam Smith was the first to see that the measure of a nation’s wealth was not money, but the industry and enterprise of its people. That a thriving and growing economy could lift whole nations out of poverty. And that the keys to economic growth were incentives, free enterprise, and productivity. That makes The Wealth of Nations just as relevant today as when it was written. So I am delighted to see this handsome new edition.

For years I have looked around for a really nice hardback edition of The Wealth of Nations without finding one. But this new edition is splendid, the sort of thing I am pleased to have on my shelf, and which would make a fine gift too.

An enormously useful feature of this edition is the selection of famous quotes at the beginning. Smith’s insightful epigrams such as “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest” and his famous remarks on the “invisible hand” can be hard to find in the original, but here they all are, laid out easily and accessibly. There is also a brief guide which explains to the reader what Smith was trying to do in each section of the work, which makes reading it much easier.”

– Dr Eamonn Butler, Director, Adam Smith Institute

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