The Wealth of Nations, Books 1-3

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Penguin, Jan 1, 1982 - Business & Economics - 537 pages
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Adam Smith paved the way for modern capitalism, arguing that a truly free market - fired by competition yet guided as if by an 'invisible hand' to ensure justice and equality - was the engine of a fair and productive society. Books I-III of the Wealth of Nations examine the 'division of labour' as the key to economic growth, by ensuring the interdependence of individuals within society. They also cover the origins of money, the importance of wages, profit, rent and stocks. Smith's work laid the foundations of economic theory in general and 'classical' economics in particular, but the real sophistication of his analysis derives from the fact that it also encompasses a combination of ethics, philosophy and history to create a vast panorama of society. This edition contains an analytical introduction offering an in-depth discussion of Smith as an economist and social scientist, as well as a preface, further reading and explanatory notes.

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Citizen of a Scotish city of merchant traders, friend of key thinkers of the renaissance (among them Hume, Franklin and Voltaire), teacher, tutor and traveler, Adam Smith writes for a generation that saw itself as emerging into a modern world. Political economy, as it was then referred to, distinguishes the policy regime of the state from the management of the household economy, the Greek oikos. Unlike traditional advice to rulers that mostly remained gathering dust on bookshelves, Smith shares with Machiavelli iconic roles that make their works known to many more than have actually read it. But far from being out of date, Adam Smiths analysis remain relevant and go beyond the simple ideas that are usually attributed to him. Most importantly, having given foundation to the capitalist paradigm that retains much currency into the age of globalization, the basis of his analysis offers a useful framework also today.  

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Wealth of Nations, the Bible of modern Capitalism, is a book that I think all government who practice capitalism should list it as a text book in our eduction system.
Without reading this book, it
's like claiming yourself to understand Christianity without reading the Holy Bible, or to understand the core value of American Freedom without learning the 10 Amendment of United States' Constitution. 


Adam Smith
Abbreviations and References
Analytical Introduction
Notes to the Introduction
Further Reading

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Collective Action
Russell Hardin
Limited preview - 1982
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About the author (1982)

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.