An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
by Adam Smith
It is a compelling account of economics at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, as well as a rhetorical piece written for the generally educated ... Show synopsis It is a compelling account of economics at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, as well as a rhetorical piece written for the generally educated individual of the 18th century - advocating a free market economy as more productive and beneficial to society. The work is hailed as a watershed in history and economics owing to its comprehensive, largely accurate characterization of economic mechanisms that survives in modern economics, and effective use of rhetorical technique including structuring the work to contrast real world examples of free and fettered markets. Like all great books, The Wealth of Nations is the outpouring not only of a great mind, but of a whole epoch. Adam Smith laid the foundation of the laissez faire philosophy by criticizing governmental regulation of trade, commerce and economic activity. The subject matter is divided into five books. Book I deals with the concept of 'division of labour' and its impact on the productivity of labour. Adam Smith divides the society into three social classes: capitalists owning capital; landlords owning land and obtaining their income as rent on land; and workers getting their income as wages from selling their labour in the market. Book II deals with capital accumulation and economic growth and is considered to form the cornerstone of Wealth of Nations. Book III contains a long historical narrative of the development of agriculture in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire. Book IV deals with Adam Smith's critique of both Mercantilism and Physiocracy which dominated economic thinking in Europe, especially in Western Europe, for nearly three centuries prior to the publication of this book. In Book V, Adam Smith develops a theory of public finance that has effectively influenced all conservative thinking on public finance almost until today. In comparatively recent years, especially after the bicentenary celebrations of the publication of The Wealth of Nations, a renewed interest in classical economics has turned the attention of many economists to re-examine Adam Smith's contributions to political economy. In this edition of the Wealth of Nations, the superb and scholarly introduction by Robin Ghosh will re-ignite discussions and re-interpretations of Smith's path-breaking work. It will prove immensely useful to the students and teachers of economics, researchers in this field as well as economists and policymakers.