The Wealth of Nations Published
The 9th of March 1776 AD
Adam Smith’s An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is often seen as the foundation stone of modern economic theory – though the very term economics was not in use at the time. It was a seminal work, with authors as diverse as Malthus, Marx and Ricardo finding inspiration in it – though not necessarily agreement with what was said.
Adam Smith ’s work has taken on an almost religious power in some quarters, and as with most religious works it is widely misinterpreted, co-opted to back widely differing viewpoints – and rarely read. The benefits of the division of labour; the law of supply and demand; the power for good or otherwise of organised labour and organised owners; the evils of monopolies: all these areas are explored and argued with intellectual clarity. Such was the impact of Smith’s work that Pitt once invited him to be seated before all the other guests at a public dinner because smith was the master, they his scholars.
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