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Wikipedia Summary for Adam Smith

Adam Smith (baptized 16 June [O.S. 5 June] 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher, pioneer of political economy, and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment. Also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism,'' Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.

Smith studied social philosophy at the University of Glasgow and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was one of the first students to benefit from scholarships set up by fellow Scot John Snell. After graduating, he delivered a successful series of public lectures at the University of Edinburgh, leading him to collaborate with David Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow, teaching moral philosophy and during this time, wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life, he took a tutoring position that allowed him to travel throughout Europe, where he met other intellectual leaders of his day.

Smith laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory. The Wealth of Nations was a precursor to the modern academic discipline of economics. In this and other works, he developed the concept of division of labour and expounded upon how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity. Smith was controversial in his own day and his general approach and writing style were often satirised by writers such as Horace Walpole.

Labor was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things.

--Adam Smith

The mind is so rarely disturbed, but that the company of friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.

--Adam Smith

Have lots of experiments, but make sure they're strategically focused.

--Adam Smith

And a workman, even of the lowest and poorest order, if he is frugal and industrious, may enjoy a greater share of the necessaries and conveniences of life than it is possible for any savage to acquire.

--Adam Smith

Corn is a necessary, silver is only a superfluity.

--Adam Smith

Never let people who are more unhappy than you tell you how to live your life.

--Adam Smith

An instructed and intelligent people are always more decent and orderly
than an ignorant and stupid one.

--Adam Smith

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for the merriment and diversion, but the conversaton ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

--Adam Smith

Resentment seems to have been given to us by nature for defense, and for defense only; it is the safeguard of justice, and the security of innocence.

--Adam Smith

To feel much for others, and little for ourselves, to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.

--Adam Smith

No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable.

--Adam Smith

There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.

--Adam Smith

Thus the labour of a manufacture adds, generally, to the value of the materials which he works upon, that of his own maintenance, and of his masters profits. The labour of a menial servant, on the contrary, adds to the value of nothing.

--Adam Smith

I have no faith in political arithmetic.

--Adam Smith

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.

--Adam Smith

It is the natural effect of improvement, however, to diminish gradually the real price of almost all manufactures.

--Adam Smith

When profit diminishes, merchants are very apt to complain that trade decays; though the diminution of profit is the natural effect of its prosperity, or of a greater stock being employed in it than before.

--Adam Smith

The great secret of education is to direct vanity to proper objects.

--Adam Smith

But though empires, like all the other works of men, have all hitherto proved mortal, yet every empire aims at immortality.

--Adam Smith

To subject every private family to the odious visits and examination of the tax-gatherers ... would be altogether inconsistent with liberty.

--Adam Smith

The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition ... is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things toward improvement, in spite of the extravagance of government, and of the greatest errors of administration.

--Adam Smith

Mercantile jealousy is excited, and both inflames, and is itself inflamed, by the violence of national animosity.

--Adam Smith

To expect, indeed, that the freedom of trade should ever be entirely restored in Great Britain, is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or Utopia should never be established in it.

--Adam Smith

Nothing is more graceful than habitual cheerfulness.

--Adam Smith

It is the industry which is carried on for the benefit of the rich and 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.

--Adam Smith

The property which every man has in his own labour, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable.

--Adam Smith

The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as it is the affect of increasing wealth, so it is the cause of increasing population. To complain of it, is to lament over the necessary effect and cause of the greatest public prosperity.

--Adam Smith

Avarice and injustice are always shortsighted, and they did not foresee how much this regulation must obstruct improvement, and thereby hurt in the long-run the real interest of the landlord.

--Adam Smith

That the chance of gain is naturally over-valued, we may learn from the universal success of lotteries.

--Adam Smith

The world neither ever saw, nor ever will see, a perfectly fair lottery.

--Adam Smith

With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which in their eye is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves.

--Adam Smith

An instructed and intelligent people are always more decent and orderly than an ignorant and stupid one.

--Adam Smith

Virtue is excellence, something uncommonly great and beautiful, which rises far above what is vulgar and ordinary.

--Adam Smith

We are but one of the multitude, in no respect better than any other in it.

--Adam Smith

A very poor man may be said in some sense to have a demand for a coach and six; he might like to have it; but his demand is not an effectual demand, as the commodity can never be brought to market in order to satisfy it.

--Adam Smith

The rate of profit... is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin.

--Adam Smith

Goods can serve many other purposes besides purchasing money, but money can serve no other purpose besides purchasing goods.

--Adam Smith

The prudent man always studies seriously and earnestly to understand whatever he professes to understand, and not merely to persuade other people that he understands it; and though his talents may not always be very brilliant, they are always perfectly genuine.

--Adam Smith

Though the profusion of Government must undoubtedly have retarded the natural progress of England to wealth and improvement, it has not been able to stop it.

--Adam Smith

The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient evil, for which, I am afraid, the nature of human affairs can scarce admit a remedy.

--Adam Smith

The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.

--Adam Smith

To attempt to increase the wealth of any country, either by introducing or by detaining in it an unnecessary quantity of gold and silver, is as absurd as it would be to attempt to increase the good cheer of private families by obliging them to keep an unnecessary number of kitchen utensils.

--Adam Smith

I am always willing to run some hazard of being tedious, in order to be sure that I am perspicuous; and, after taking the utmost pains that I can to be perspicuous, some obscurity may still appear to remain upon a subject, in its own nature extremely abstracted.

--Adam Smith

When the profits of trade happen to be greater than ordinary, over-trading becomes a general error both among great and small dealers.

--Adam Smith

Education in the ingenious arts and in the liberal professions is still more tedious and expensive. The pecuniary recompense, therefore, of painters and sculptors, of lawyers and physicians, ought to be much more liberal; and it is so accordingly.

--Adam Smith

Where wages are not regulated by law, all that we can pretend to determine is what are the most usual; and experience seems to show that law can never regulate them properly, though it has often pretended to do so.

--Adam Smith

I have always considered David Hume as approaching as nearly the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man as perhaps the nature of human frailty will allow.

--Adam Smith

A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural.

--Adam Smith

In ease of body, peace of mind, all the different ranks of life are nearly upon a level and the beggar who suns himself by the side of the highway, possesses that security which kings are fighting for.

--Adam Smith

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.

--Adam Smith

As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation.

--Adam Smith

The learned ignore the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of the ideas of their imagination.

--Adam Smith

What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience?

--Adam Smith

What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?

--Adam Smith

A nation is not made wealthy by the childish accumulation of shiny metals, but it enriched by the economic prosperity of it's people.

--Adam Smith

Every man lives by exchanging.

--Adam Smith

Nothing but the most exemplary morals can give dignity to a man of small fortune.

--Adam Smith

The mob, when they are gazing at a dancer on the slack rope, naturally writhe and twist and balance their own bodies, as they see him do.

--Adam Smith

The ancient Egyptians had a superstitious antipathy to the sea; a superstition nearly of the same kind prevails among the Indians; and the Chinese have never excelled in foreign commerce.

--Adam Smith

Individual Ambition Serves the Common Good.

--Adam Smith

Every tax, however, is to the person who pays it a badge, not of slavery but of liberty. It denotes that he is a subject to government, indeed, but that, as he has some property, he cannot himself be the property of a master.

--Adam Smith

Beneficence is always free, it cannot be extorted by force.

--Adam Smith

A true party-man hates and despises candour.

--Adam Smith

An English university is a sanctuary in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices find shelter and protection after they have been . hunted out of every corner of the world.

--Adam Smith

The great affair, we always find, is to get money.

--Adam Smith

Problems worthy of attacks, prove their worth by hitting back.

--Adam Smith

The importation of gold and silver is not the principal, much less the sole benefit which a nation derives from its foreign trade.

--Adam Smith

That a joint stock company should be able to carry on successfully any branch of foreign trade, when private adventurers can come into any sort of open and fair competition with them, seems contrary to all experience.

--Adam Smith

All registers which, it is acknowledged, ought to be kept secret, ought certainly never to exist.

--Adam Smith

To feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature.

--Adam Smith

A gardener who cultivates his own garden with his own hands, unites in his own person the three different characters, of landlord, farmer, and labourer. His produce, therefore, should pay him the rent of the first, the profit of the second, and the wages of the third.

--Adam Smith

The game women play is men.

--Adam Smith

By nature a philosopher is not in genius and disposition half so different from a street porter, as a mastiff is from a greyhound.

--Adam Smith

Good roads, canals, and navigable rivers, by diminishing the expence of carriage, put the remote parts of the country more nearly upon a level with with those of the neighbourhood of the town. They are upon that the greatest of all improvements.

--Adam Smith

For a very small expence the public can facilitate, can encourage, and can even impose upon almost the whole body of the people, the necessity of acquiring those most essential parts of education.

--Adam Smith

The principle which prompts to save is the desire of bettering our conditiona desire which?comes with us from the womb and never leaves us till we go into the grave.

--Adam Smith

The most sacred laws of justice are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbor.

--Adam Smith

Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life.

--Adam Smith

The emotions of the spectator will still be very apt to fall short of the violence of what is felt by the sufferer. Mankind, though naturally sympathetic, never conceive, for what has befallen another, that degree of passion which naturally animates the person principally concerned.

--Adam Smith


The tolls for the maintenance of a high road, cannot with any safety be made the property of private persons.

--Adam Smith

Upstart greatness is everywhere less respected than ancient greatness.

--Adam Smith

I have no great faith in political arithmetic, and I mean not to warrant the exactness of either of these computations.

--Adam Smith

Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the State.

--Adam Smith

Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.

--Adam Smith

What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.

--Adam Smith

The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is anywhere directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour.

--Adam Smith

The natural price, therefore, is, as it were, the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating.

--Adam Smith

The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education.

--Adam Smith

Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens.

--Adam Smith

Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality.

--Adam Smith

China is a much richer country than any part of Europe.

--Adam Smith

It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

--Adam Smith

The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities.

--Adam Smith

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