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• TRANSLATED & EDITED – This updated version of Adam Smith's 1776 publication uses contemporary American English without sacrificing the author's intent or meaning. It is an English to American translation. • Adam Smith's seminal work on the benefits of free enterprise. Book 4 looks at the principles behind commerce, restraints on foreign goods, and the pros and cons of • TRANSLATED & EDITED – This updated version of Adam Smith's 1776 publication uses contemporary American English without sacrificing the author's intent or meaning. It is an English to American translation. • Adam Smith's seminal work on the benefits of free enterprise. Book 4 looks at the principles behind commerce, restraints on foreign goods, and the pros and cons of importation. Additionally it considers agriculture as the primary source of wealth building for a nation. This edition does not include the original appendix of book 5. This is Book 4 in a series of 5: 1. Causes of Improvement 2. Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock 3. Progress of Opulence In Different Nations 4. Systems of Political Economy 5. Revenue of the Commonwealth


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• TRANSLATED & EDITED – This updated version of Adam Smith's 1776 publication uses contemporary American English without sacrificing the author's intent or meaning. It is an English to American translation. • Adam Smith's seminal work on the benefits of free enterprise. Book 4 looks at the principles behind commerce, restraints on foreign goods, and the pros and cons of • TRANSLATED & EDITED – This updated version of Adam Smith's 1776 publication uses contemporary American English without sacrificing the author's intent or meaning. It is an English to American translation. • Adam Smith's seminal work on the benefits of free enterprise. Book 4 looks at the principles behind commerce, restraints on foreign goods, and the pros and cons of importation. Additionally it considers agriculture as the primary source of wealth building for a nation. This edition does not include the original appendix of book 5. This is Book 4 in a series of 5: 1. Causes of Improvement 2. Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock 3. Progress of Opulence In Different Nations 4. Systems of Political Economy 5. Revenue of the Commonwealth

30 review for The Wealth of Nations - Systems Of Political Economy (Translated)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Szplug

    Sometimes I feel so very goddamned embarrassed by my lack of higher education. There are just too many of the foundational works of Western civilization that I am only getting around to now, in my early forties—and even with the padding of years, I feel depressingly unprepared heading into them. So much fucking time wasted doing shit, when I could have been reading... Smith is smooth, like a nice rye whisky. Right off the bat, this artful Adam opens with a remark about the productive powers of Sometimes I feel so very goddamned embarrassed by my lack of higher education. There are just too many of the foundational works of Western civilization that I am only getting around to now, in my early forties—and even with the padding of years, I feel depressingly unprepared heading into them. So much fucking time wasted doing shit, when I could have been reading... Smith is smooth, like a nice rye whisky. Right off the bat, this artful Adam opens with a remark about the productive powers of labour, and only my recently ingrained terror of 1200 page books prevented me from levering it up to Position Number One. I have the unabridged edition, which other reviews seem to warn means being exposed to more discussion of English corn than could ever be warranted, even by the most patient and diligent of readers. But, what the hey, that's the camp I'm joining! I plan to have a swimming time, me and Adam, cruising through silver and gold pricing of bountiful British harvests. Hooray for the Invisible Hand! (If you look carefully at the cover of the handsome edition that I possess, you'll see that incorporeal extremity craftily incorporated into the pleasingly attractive rural design).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    For a truth, about 3/4 of this book is 18th century blabber about corn prices. Of the remaining 1/4, about 1/2 is criticism of mercantilsm, which is mostly obvious and definitely boring. The remaining 1/8 of the book, however, is worth fighting through the rest for. Even if you've heard the explanation of the "invisible hand" a thousand times, there is something magical about reading the actual words by the father himself: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker For a truth, about 3/4 of this book is 18th century blabber about corn prices. Of the remaining 1/4, about 1/2 is criticism of mercantilsm, which is mostly obvious and definitely boring. The remaining 1/8 of the book, however, is worth fighting through the rest for. Even if you've heard the explanation of the "invisible hand" a thousand times, there is something magical about reading the actual words by the father himself: "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. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." "He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it...he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." Big time. Seriously.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 1978 میلادی عنوان: ثروت ملل؛ نویسنده: آدام اسمیت؛ مترجم: سیروس ابراهیم زاده؛ تهران، پیام، 1357؛ در سه جلد: جلد نخست: علل بهبود نیروی مولد کارگر، نظم و ترتیبی که بر طبق آن محصول محصول وی به طور طبیعی میان گروههای مختلف مردم توزیع میشود؛ جلد دوم در باره ماهیت سرمایه، نحوه ی انباشته شدن، و کاربرد آن؛ جلد سوم: درباره سیر توانگری و ثروت بین ملتهای مختلف؛ موضوع: اقتصاد از نویسندگان اسکاتلندی - سده 18 م در سال 1395 هجری خورشیدی خلاصه ای از کتاب را انتشارات پیام در 362 ص منتشر کرده است با نگارش کتاب «ثروت ملل» بود، که «آدام اسمیت» مرزهای اقتصاد را گسترش داد، تا حوزه های دیگر، همانند: «علوم سیاسی»، و حتی «انسان شناسی» را نیز دربربگیرد. نسخه اصلی کتاب «ثروت ملل»، پنج جلد است، و تنها دو جلد نخستین است، که الهام بخش است. در این دو جلد است، که ایشان علت بنیادین «ثروت ملل»، یعنی تمایز بین «قیمت طبیعی»، و «قیمت بازار» کالاها را، توضیح میدهد. جلدهای سوم تا پنجم اما، مباحثی را شامل میشود، که خوانشگر انتظار ندارد، آنها را در یک کتاب اقتصادی بیابد. اگرچه «آدام اسمیت»، هماره بدگمانی ژرفی در باره رفتار بازرگانان، و قانونگزاران داشته، و وظایف دولت را، تنها، برآوردن آن دسته از خدمات اجتماعی میدانسته، که «بخش خصوصی» قادر، یا تمایل به انجام آن خدمات ندارد. ایشان مدافع نظریه ی «مزیت نسبی و آزادی عملکرد بازار» بودند. اما همیشه کسانی نیز هستند، که بگویند: «این موارد، تمام آن چیزی نیست که موردنظر آدام اسمیت بوده است.»، بدون شک همین موارد، بخش عمده ی پیام پیچیده ی ایشان بوده است. در روزگار کنونی، و با فروپاشی «نظام اقتصاد متمرکز»، و اقبال همگانی از سیاستهای «اقتصاد آزاد»، چنین به نظر میرسد، که پس از گذشت بیش از دو سده، روح «آدام اسمیت» بر فراز «اقتصاد جهانی»، دوباره استوار و سر فراز ایستاده است. ا. شربیانی

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard Fulgham

    "The Wealth of Nations" is the book that changed greed to a virtue instead of a sin. In fact, greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christian theology. Greed is a sin in ALL the great religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Buddhism, American Indian Spiritualism, Wiccan nature love, Bahá'í Faith, Gnosticism · · Rastafari,Samaritanism, Indian Ayyavazhi, Jainism, Sikhism Iranian Ahl-e Haqq, Manichaeism, Mazdak, Yazidi,Zoroastrianism, East Asian Confucianism, Taoism,Recent "The Wealth of Nations" is the book that changed greed to a virtue instead of a sin. In fact, greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christian theology. Greed is a sin in ALL the great religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Buddhism, American Indian Spiritualism, Wiccan nature love, Bahá'í Faith, Gnosticism · · Rastafari,Samaritanism, Indian Ayyavazhi, Jainism, Sikhism Iranian Ahl-e Haqq, Manichaeism, Mazdak, Yazidi,Zoroastrianism, East Asian Confucianism, Taoism,Recent Cao Dai,Chondogyo, Neopaganism, New Age, Seicho-No-Ie, Tenrikyo, Unitarian Universalism Ethnic/Folk African, Ancient religions, Prehistoric Near East Egyptian, Semitic, Mesopotamian Indo-European Celtic, Germanic Illyro-thracian, Greek (Gnosticism · Neoplatonism), Mithraism, Vedic Hinduism . . . . All these religions say greed is wrong. All these religions say you should not gather wealth at the expense of your neighbors. But this man Adam Smith says it is OK to do whatever is necessary to obtain wealth. Adam Smith says it is a good thing to allow your instinct toward selfishness to rule your life. He calls it Capitalism. And it works for a century or so before the robbed and disenfranchised revolt and kill off the greedy ones who rule society to their benefit. Greed is the basis and essence of Capitalism, especially US Capitalism, in which every individual is guaranteed the "right to pursue happiness". Has anyone EVER questioned that? Why is more important to be happy than to know where you fit into the Grand Scheme? Why is more important to make money than to find and free your spirit? Look at any wealthy person who gained his or her wealth through competiton -do they have a healthy or unhealthy spirit? In turning greed to virtue, Adam Smith has created an economic system that more accurately has been called "Social Darwinism". In other words, according to Smith, it is perfectly natural for the meanest, strongest, most clever individuals to gobble up so much capital that the great majority of people are left with crumbs. The weakest of us "deserve" to be poor, according to Smith. The Bible and every civilized religion in the world disagree, saying greed is a sin because the individual chooses to be greedy even though he/she knows it will cause great shortages of money among the meek and powerless. Capitalism therefore is a sin, not an acceptable economic system. So long as there exists a middle class nothing catastrophic should happen to the society embracing this sin. But right now the middleclass is disappearing in the USA (as it has in all empires), leaving only the few monsters at the top and everyone else in poverty. Forgive me for reading and for using my mind to agree or disagree with the author. I know most of you are capitalist because you are citizens of the USA. I am frankly a disciple of Diogenes and believe we should all be free and enjoy life -- there is plenty to go around without getting into a harness and working yourself to death. Let's face it, communism would have worked if they'd killed off the hogs as they rose to power. There are always hogs in society -- it is the duty of society to keep them chained or jailed. Adam Smith, to a real Christian, is Satan personified. How devious and clever to claim a sin is a virtue. I recommend reading this admittedly fascinating book because it is an explanation of why Rome, Great Britian, the Ottoman Empire, et al, in the end collapsed because of greed made a virtue. Adam Smith eloquently and wittily pretends to be a friend to the common person. So does "Das Kapital" and "Mein Kampf". I personally am not a communist, socialist nor capitalist. I'm absolutely a nobody and you can take that to your corrupt bank. I revel in the freedom of my mind! I am an old graybeard and have read a thousand books --I was cast out of the 20th Century for chastising lesser minds, indifferent minds. I have been driven mad -- but in that madness there has come a clarity. It is so bright and wonderful that I can see clearly what I could not see before. I hope this will attract bitter diatribes (Webster: bitter and abusive writings) against me and my blanket condemnation of Adam Smith's dangerous book. That will mean that my words here have been read and considered. Is that too much to ask in this dispassionate world?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    One of the hardest books I have ever read - I feel overwhelmed as far as the concepts - so I will just make a general comment: If you want to understand the foundational concepts of economic policy and have the perspective of a true genius then this book is for you. It is SCARY how many situations Adam Smith predicted - and it is sad how little things have changed as far as the wealthy and the poor. If you read this book and Das Capital I would argue that you will be able to hold your own as far One of the hardest books I have ever read - I feel overwhelmed as far as the concepts - so I will just make a general comment: If you want to understand the foundational concepts of economic policy and have the perspective of a true genius then this book is for you. It is SCARY how many situations Adam Smith predicted - and it is sad how little things have changed as far as the wealthy and the poor. If you read this book and Das Capital I would argue that you will be able to hold your own as far as any 'laymen arguments' that are so often touted by the media. Took me 5 years to get through this book - but it was worth it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    A prideful and ambitious boy, hearing that President Kennedy had been a speed reader, I cut lawns and shovelled walks to pay for an Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program. We met in the spare basement of the hideous modern structure that passed for Park Ridge's "Inn"--a residence primarily for attendants and pilots from the airlines utilizing nearby O'Hare International Airport. I was a sophomore, the youngest in class, quite serious and full of myself. The Wood method consisted, basically, of two A prideful and ambitious boy, hearing that President Kennedy had been a speed reader, I cut lawns and shovelled walks to pay for an Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program. We met in the spare basement of the hideous modern structure that passed for Park Ridge's "Inn"--a residence primarily for attendants and pilots from the airlines utilizing nearby O'Hare International Airport. I was a sophomore, the youngest in class, quite serious and full of myself. The Wood method consisted, basically, of two parts. First, don't subvocalize while reading. Second, run a finger down the page while soft-focusing on the text. The rest was a matter of practice and ever-faster fingers until some of us were "reading" as fast as we could turn the pages. The texts for class were, one suspects, Ms. Wood's efforts to make the world a better place. They included Ayn Rand's Anthem, an early exercise, and Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the final exercise. I was so expert by that time that the Wealth of Nations took no longer than Rand's novella had--thirty or forty minutes maybe. The whole business was a sham of course. What we were learning was how to skim and cram, skim and cram for examinations designed to pick up on the kinds of material one might retain from a skim and cram method. The rest depended upon what Marx termed "the labor theory of value"--we had spent a lot of money and time on this stuff, so it had better have paid off or we'd be fools. It took me about a year of skimming and cramming to give up and decide I had, in fact, been a fool. Thus I returned to the old, much more pleasant ways of reading and, in time, even reread Marx's great hero, Adam Smith...while on the beach in Michigan and over several days.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    For some reason, the American Right tend to be as vehemently in favor of the Invisible Hand of the market as they are vehemently against the Invisible Hand of Darwinian selection. And the old USSR was exactly the same, except that they reversed the two positions. Am I the only person who thinks this is just plain weird?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    How can one go through life without reading the Wealth of Nations? Adam Smith had the idea of modern economics before the United States was even sovereign (I go not so much for good writers, as I do for innovative and groundbreaking thinkers). Imagine coming up with your own idea of an economic system long before the world was ready. And unlike Marx, may I mention, Smith's ideals are not only flourishing and still seen today, but they are the foundation of the many, many economies and nations.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Update: I realized last night that I will never have a block of time uninterrupted by other books. I think I'm constitutionally incapable of reading only one book at a time. So I'm diving back into this one...actually restarting it...but with an unabridged edition this time. See you back here in a few months...or years. This one requires a good deal of focus and a block of time uninterrupted by other books or major life events. I will get back to it, just not sure when.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Saadia B. || Hustle, Bustle and Hurdles

    Oh this book was such a tiresome read that I finished 4 other books before completing this one. Started to take toll on me with so much unnecessary explanations which made no sense. Sometimes cringe worthy! Adam Smith was one of the few individuals who wanted the economic cycle to run itself. Hence he was in full support of market setting the momentum. But can we give such liberty to markets? With inflation, resources cramped within few hands and power politics his notion have failed to a large Oh this book was such a tiresome read that I finished 4 other books before completing this one. Started to take toll on me with so much unnecessary explanations which made no sense. Sometimes cringe worthy! Adam Smith was one of the few individuals who wanted the economic cycle to run itself. Hence he was in full support of market setting the momentum. But can we give such liberty to markets? With inflation, resources cramped within few hands and power politics his notion have failed to a large extend in today’s world. As the richer are getting rich with each day whereas the poor are left on their mercy which never comes. But nonetheless this book gave certain valuable parameters which can be used and revised to make things better. According to him abundance or scantiness depend upon two circumstances: 1. By skill, dexterity and judgement with which it’s labour is applied 2. By the proportion between the employer and unemployed Wages, rent and profit are the three original sources of all revenues and exchangeable value. Altogether there are 3 classes who contribute towards the annual produce of the land and labour: 1. The proprietors of land 2. Cultivators, farmers and country labourers who are honoured with the peculiar appellation of the productive class 3. Class of artificers, manufactures and merchants who endeavour to degrade by the humiliating appellation of the barren or unproductive class The sovereign as in the state has only three duties to attend to: 1. The duty of protecting the society from violence and invasion of other independent societies 2. The duty of protecting every member of the society from injustice or oppression by every other member of it 3. The duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and institutions Though Smith kept condemning the Mercantile System but his free markets have led to the very anarchy which even mercantilist couldn’t bring in the world.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amit Mishra

    An erudite who not only changed the shape of economics thinking but also laid the foundation of capitalism and industrialization. The book by him can be regarded as The Bible of economics.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Acknowledgements Introduction Note on the Text Select Bibliography A Chronology of Adam Smith and His Times --An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations [Abridged] Explanatory Notes and Commentary Index

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    Always a great classic on economics. His one fatal flaw was opening the door for Marx. By placing value based on labor, laborers feel they are the ones that deserve all the reward. Labor means nothing if no one wants the item being produced. The free market drives price, not the amount of labor put into a product. Great chance to see and understand how economics developed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Up there with the Bible as one of the most misquoted books of all time? I strongly suspect that most people who believe themselves to be disciples of Adam Smith have never actually read this book. Adam had no time for theoretical economic models and doctrinaire dog-eat-dog free market dogma. He was an empiricist and a moralist who believed people should be given the opportunity to make the best of themselves, but that the most vulnerable members of society should be taken care of by the group. Up there with the Bible as one of the most misquoted books of all time? I strongly suspect that most people who believe themselves to be disciples of Adam Smith have never actually read this book. Adam had no time for theoretical economic models and doctrinaire dog-eat-dog free market dogma. He was an empiricist and a moralist who believed people should be given the opportunity to make the best of themselves, but that the most vulnerable members of society should be taken care of by the group. Hard going at times, but pick around the long sections on obsolete institutions of the day, and prepare to be surprised. By the way, the metaphor of "the invisible hand" - the most abused quotation of all - is mentioned once in passing within this enormous tome.

  15. 5 out of 5

    The Duke

    A text that's still relevant (and its main points still taught). The Wealth of Nations is far from a short read, but I feel like it's main points are pretty easy to sum up and since when they have been put into practice we have seen the results intended, it has maintained its importance. Basically it states that producers are better off investing in capital and labor (creating a division of labor) so each laborer only has to specialize in one task, thus creating a far more efficient output. A text that's still relevant (and its main points still taught). The Wealth of Nations is far from a short read, but I feel like it's main points are pretty easy to sum up and since when they have been put into practice we have seen the results intended, it has maintained its importance. Basically it states that producers are better off investing in capital and labor (creating a division of labor) so each laborer only has to specialize in one task, thus creating a far more efficient output. Ultimately specialization doesn't only increase speed and surplus (which can be traded for goods or exchanged for currency) but it also leads to further innovation, because the more familiar a person is with a task the easier it will be for them to find a way around it. Next, self interest serves the economy as a whole, because the famous invisible hand will guide competitors to create higher quality products and offer better customer service because it's in their best interest. Avoiding these tasks or taking shortcuts will hurt them. The market is more efficient than the government so the role of government should be limited to defense, infrastructure and education. Basically made it sound like the more centralized the decision are, the more harmful they can be towards the growth of the economy. Ultimately, I'm happy I read this book. Whether you agree or disagree with a laissez-faire economy, it's good to read the source material.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Adam Smith’s “An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations” (often called simply “The Wealth Of Nations”) is one of two great works from the Scottish economist and philosopher, the other being the lesser known “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”. “The Wealth Of Nations” was published on March 9th, of 1776, but there were additional editions in 1778, 1784, 1786, and 1789. I read the free Kindle version of “The Wealth Of Nations”, and while I do not recommend that version I do Adam Smith’s “An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations” (often called simply “The Wealth Of Nations”) is one of two great works from the Scottish economist and philosopher, the other being the lesser known “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”. “The Wealth Of Nations” was published on March 9th, of 1776, but there were additional editions in 1778, 1784, 1786, and 1789. I read the free Kindle version of “The Wealth Of Nations”, and while I do not recommend that version I do recommend the overall work. The issues with the Kindle version are that it is poorly formatted, and it is painful to attempt to read the numbers in the tables at the of Book I. You are much better off getting a hard copy so that you can more easily flip to the section of interest, and to read the information in a better format. As for the rest, the content is all there, once you get past the poor formatting. The work contains five books within. The first is “Of the Causes of Improvement in the productive Powers of Labour”. In this book he discusses the benefits of the division of labor, the origin and benefits of using money, a section on the “real” price of commodities (i.e. how much toil it takes to produce them), a discussion of the natural and market prices of commodities (the forces of supply and demand), the effect of controlling a commodity can have on the price, the wages of labor (again a case of supply and demand with the commodity of labor), the profits of stock, a discussion of the ill effects of groups who use their influence to manipulate the government (this would include banking conglomerations, trade unions, etc.), and closes with a section on rent. The second book is “Of the Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock” which deals with accumulating wealth which lasts a longer period of time. This book starts with how one divides their stock into what they need for personal use, and what they can dispose of in exchange for others available stock. He then moves into a discussion of money as a type of stock, and then how to use their excess money/stock to gain interest. The third book is “Of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations”, where he talks about the balance between the inhabitants of towns and those of the country areas and goes into how agriculture is discouraged over time, while cities and towns prosper. The fourth book is “Of Systems of political Economy” in which Smith discusses the commercial system, along with importation which contains a detailed look at the effects of restraints on importation/exportation. Smith also discusses commerce treaties, and the role of colonies. This book also has a brief section on the agricultural system, but here he is referring to a specific system where the produce of land is the sole source of the revenue of a nation The fifth book is “Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth” in which Smith deals with taxation. This is an important area to read and understand, as it is the one which many ignore when using Smith to try to support other areas. There are hints here of the progressive tax, as well as a discussion of the expenses of the nation, an important acknowledgement that the poor spend the greater part of their income on the fundamentals, such as food, and so he suggests luxury taxes as not unreasonable. Smith then closes the final book with a discussion of the costs of war, both for the actual fighting, and in terms of the loss of trade.

  17. 4 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    This is a pillar of western civilization but not much fun so don’t read it unless you have to. A Wiki should give you more information than you need to know. The 7 hour abridged Audible edition gave me more far more info than I needed or wanted. Thank God that’s over.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.0 stars. I read this on my own in law school. I know, I know, who does that right? Well I obtained this as part of my Easton Press colleciton of "Books That Changed the World." I remember being really intrigued by the book and it made me more interested in the history of economics.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emre Poyraz

    I would say that this is the most overrated book in economics. That does not mean that this book is without its merits, but I was definitely frustrated. Let me tell you why: 1. Smith, in various places in the book, criticizes merchantilists and others. However, since the average reader (even the average economist) has no knowledge of merchantilists and physiocrats, all his comments SEEM correct, whereas in fact they are just simplistic and unfair (merchantilists never confused wealth and money, I would say that this is the most overrated book in economics. That does not mean that this book is without its merits, but I was definitely frustrated. Let me tell you why: 1. Smith, in various places in the book, criticizes merchantilists and others. However, since the average reader (even the average economist) has no knowledge of merchantilists and physiocrats, all his comments SEEM correct, whereas in fact they are just simplistic and unfair (merchantilists never confused wealth and money, and physiocrats invented many important concepts in economics and public finance). So, lots of great economics books (think of John Steuart or Sir William Petty) were simply ignored. 2. Smith never quoted another writer. It is because he invented economics by himself? No... it is because he never bothered to give references, "forgot" to mention what he took from other great writers, especially the physiocracts. Thus, the book gives a false impression that he is MUCH more original than he actually is. 3. He did not invent free markets, market economy, or economics. Period. He is not a liberal, or even a liberal economist. Yet, he is claimed to be the founder of economics (labelled "classical" economics). Considering that there were economists before him, what makes him the father of anything? Simple answer: because economists do not read historically important works in economics, they just quote Smith. (I could just go on and on, but there is no need to). Let me simply say that if you want to get informed about the history of economics, start with the merchantilists. If you want to learn about modern economics , the true founding father of modern economics is Jeremy Bentham. He is the true inventor of homo economicus. If you think that this book is pointless and boring, you are mostly right.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Obrigewitsch

    One of the first and most quoted economics books in history. I must say that many of the quotes that come from this book are cherry picked, for example the invisible hand is mentioned one time and a minor aside, yet I heard about it many times in school, yet heard nothing about many of the other subjects discussed at great length in this book. If you are interest in economics or politics at all I recommend reading this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Three things happened in 1776. 1. The Revolutionary war started (Declaration of Independence). 2. Watt's first steam engine powered Wilkinson's iron foundry blowers. 3. Adam Smith published "The Wealth of Nations".

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abram Dorrough

    The most influential book of all time. Every commodity and service we enjoy - from transportation to technology to cheaper metal production - has come because of those who have stood on the giant shoulders of Adam Smith.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Ali Abedi

    “Money, says the proverb, makes money. When you have got a little, it is often easy to get more. The great difficulty is to get that little.” This book was absolutely a pain to get through. Maybe the biggest difference between 2012 and 1776 is that people have less patience. This economic book, seems to have made a huge influence on future economists and capitalists, but reading over 1000 pages on extremely dry economics was really difficult for me. There are some good ideas in the book, but “Money, says the proverb, makes money. When you have got a little, it is often easy to get more. The great difficulty is to get that little.” This book was absolutely a pain to get through. Maybe the biggest difference between 2012 and 1776 is that people have less patience. This economic book, seems to have made a huge influence on future economists and capitalists, but reading over 1000 pages on extremely dry economics was really difficult for me. There are some good ideas in the book, but reading pages after pages of grain prices was not something I could easily handle. I’d have left the book unfinished, if it was not my resolve (or OCD, whichever way you want to look at it) that has me finish every book I read. “It is not the actual greatness of national wealth, but its continual increase, which occasions a rise in the wages of labour. It is not, accordingly, in the richest countries, but in the most thriving, or in those which are growing rich the fastest, that the wages of labour are highest.” The book itself is interesting in that it really does seem to have influenced current modern western economics, or maybe, it hasn’t really influenced it as much as foretold it. To the western world, for a while now, emotions and spirituality has been cast aside, and in its place have been rationality, and by extension, capitalism. In this book, Adam Smith talks a lot about society, governments, people, and slavery, but it is never about morality, and always about the progress of the materialistic world. I’m not criticizing the work, because relying on logic sometimes makes sense. For example, Adam Smith is against slavery in the book, not for its ethical reason, but the fact that he believes that freeman are better workers than slaves, therefore a nation can progress faster if it pays wages to its laborers, rather than having slaves. That is, in the long term, having no slaves is materialistically advantageous. "The desire of food is limited in every man by the narrow capacity of the human stomach; but the desire of the conveniences and ornaments of building, dress, equipage and household furniture, seems to have no limit or certain boundary." It is a good book to have read, but it might have been better for me to read an abridged version, 200 or 300 pages would have been better for me to absorb the main concepts and reflect on them, rather than have the ideas repeated, stretched, and given dozens of pages of examples about freaking grain prises. “For though management and persuasion are always the easiest and the safest instruments of government, as force and violence are the worst and the most dangerous, yet such, it seems, is the natural insolence of man, that he almost always disdains to use the good instrument, except when he cannot or dare not use the bad one.”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anna Merrill

    Keeping in mind this book was published in 1776, the same year the US was founded, and that it is written in the language of the time, this is a thorough examination of how patterns of trade, currency, and growth occur. The foundation upon which all other economics books are written. Stick this book in your bathroom and read one of the short little 12-page chapters every time you pay an extended visit. At over 1000 pages, it will take a while, but if you want to teach yourself how to debunk the Keeping in mind this book was published in 1776, the same year the US was founded, and that it is written in the language of the time, this is a thorough examination of how patterns of trade, currency, and growth occur. The foundation upon which all other economics books are written. Stick this book in your bathroom and read one of the short little 12-page chapters every time you pay an extended visit. At over 1000 pages, it will take a while, but if you want to teach yourself how to debunk the free trade B.S. people misattribute to Adam Smith and skewer your obnoxious MBA brother-in-law at the next family gathering, read Adam Smith for yourself. He doesn't say what the US Chamber of Commerce -says- he says. In the Count of Monte Christo, one of the books Edmund read and used to take down the evildoers was this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    We know from experience that Smith's system is not complete unto itself. In fact, Smith himself would probably have admitted this. His references to ancient history and political philosophy would seem to show not only that he accepted that the territory of "statecraft" is not entirely contained within the borders of classical economics but also that he accepted the State's place alongside the Market as a fundamental, primordial feature of social existence. That much being said, Smith deserves We know from experience that Smith's system is not complete unto itself. In fact, Smith himself would probably have admitted this. His references to ancient history and political philosophy would seem to show not only that he accepted that the territory of "statecraft" is not entirely contained within the borders of classical economics but also that he accepted the State's place alongside the Market as a fundamental, primordial feature of social existence. That much being said, Smith deserves credit for several revolutionary discoveries. Most importantly, his emphasis on the control and cultivation of markets -- and not territory [as the physiocrats claimed:] or gold [as the mercantilists claimed:] -- as the proper objective of macroeconomic policy ranks as a major breakthrough. His use of market-analysis to explain the collapse of the Spanish colonization of the New World and the success of the Enlgish is a powerful, and clearly true, demonstration of the fundamental effectiveness of his model, even if subsequent events have shown that cases do exist in which market considerations should not be the primary ones in the decision making process. His elucidation of the labor theory of value as the foundation of a real price of a commodity is both accessible and convincing, and it is a considerable advance beyond the original iteration of the theory by Locke. His distinction between the real price and the market price of a commodity raises the question of the role that the market should play in determining prices, and that, again, remains one of the most important questions in the history of political thought. Like most applications of the Doctrine of a Self-Correcting Market, Smith's faith in the tendency of the market price of commodities to remain, over time, faithful to the real price has to be viewed as more of an ideal than a reality. But his description of the law of supply and demand as a means of calculating market price from the underlying real price seems irrefutable. Smith's criticisms of Corporations ["joint stock companies" in the language of his day:] as opposed to LLCs are also very welcome and at least as topical in this historical moment as they were in his own. In general, his criticism of the investor-class and of corporate monopolism remain one of the most important messages to be found in the entire body of social science literature. As a result, he will remain, probably forever, a victim a the worst kind of distortion from those who most loudly claim adherence to his ideas.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Fabian {Councillor}

    (Discussed parts of it in school, so I know about most of Smith's major ideas, but I never read the actual book except for some segments.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    The Wealth of Nations is an excellent work of the 18th Century enlightenment. It examines in a logical way that can be understood by any reader how government actions in commerce canharm the public interest. For example if price controls are instituted because food costs too much in a city, supply will diminish radically as producers will take their crops to a different city. If a trading company (e.g. British India company) is given a monopoly over the trade from East Asia, then the price of tea The Wealth of Nations is an excellent work of the 18th Century enlightenment. It examines in a logical way that can be understood by any reader how government actions in commerce canharm the public interest. For example if price controls are instituted because food costs too much in a city, supply will diminish radically as producers will take their crops to a different city. If a trading company (e.g. British India company) is given a monopoly over the trade from East Asia, then the price of tea will be higher in England than if Dutch merchants were allowed to import their tea. Hence this book is of great value in providing an early critique of government efforts to regulate commerce. The British East India company had received its charter because it had been felt that without the monopoly the company would lack the critical mass needed to assume the cost of defending its territory militarily. Unfortunately the British consumer had to pay a higher price for Indian tea and opium because of the monopoly. Read this book then. It is sensible and provides an excellent view into the debate amongst intellectuals and politicians in the 18th century. Smith is not considered to be an Economist. Economics as we now know it began with John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s. Keynes assigned the major components of the commercial and goods producing activities in our world to various accounts. He then proposed a model of goods and investment flow from one account to another. Using this model, governments could manage the level of growth and employment. What you or your friends studied in economics was really a methodology for managing a monetary flow that assumed the validity of a certain model. Whenever behaviour does not conform to the model, economists say that the model requires further refinement. Economics is not total hogwash however. When great care is taken to construct a market according to Keynesian economic theory, the model works brilliantly. Our financial and commodities markets are constructed and regulated so that the Keynesian model will operate with maximum efficiently. The result is that our international equity and commodity markets operate at lightning speed with extremely low transaction costs. The important thing is to remember that Smith has nothing to do with modern economics. It proposes no model that can be managed and is based entirely on common sense. It is great reading. Anyone interested in Western culture and civilization should read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    A long time to read, but providing interesting perspective. Adam Smith is called the Father of Modern Economics. After reading his book, considered his magnum opus (great work), I have the following thought to share. Smith discusses three types of people; those who make money by rent, by labor, and by employment of stock. With respect to the various laws each of these group tends to propose, he considers the likely merits. Those who make money by rent can only make money if the people who supply A long time to read, but providing interesting perspective. Adam Smith is called the Father of Modern Economics. After reading his book, considered his magnum opus (great work), I have the following thought to share. Smith discusses three types of people; those who make money by rent, by labor, and by employment of stock. With respect to the various laws each of these group tends to propose, he considers the likely merits. Those who make money by rent can only make money if the people who supply that rent are doing well. The laws they suggest should be good for the society. Those who make money by labor need both those who make money by rent and those who make money by the employment of stock to do well if they are to succeed. (They require a place to live and a place to work, as it were, and cannot harm either overmuch without harming themselves.) The third category of people he discusses is different. People who make money by the employment of stock are frequently accused of suggesting laws that do not suit the other two groups. "The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market, and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can only serve to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens." ~~ Adam Smith He then concludes his criticism with a warning regarding the involvement of such persons in matters of law: "The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention." ~~ Adam Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    This book was far too long. Too much talk of corn prices and criticism of mercantilism. But once you get to the parts regarding Smith's idea of free markets, unregulated by the state, things get interesting. Having lived through an economic crisis, I was hesitant to give this book a try, but I'm glad I did it. It's good to see how 18th century people though free markets would work (back then no one had even heard of corporations and businesses belonged to specific people). Compared with what came This book was far too long. Too much talk of corn prices and criticism of mercantilism. But once you get to the parts regarding Smith's idea of free markets, unregulated by the state, things get interesting. Having lived through an economic crisis, I was hesitant to give this book a try, but I'm glad I did it. It's good to see how 18th century people though free markets would work (back then no one had even heard of corporations and businesses belonged to specific people). Compared with what came before it, this was a step forward and Smith made an enormous contribution to our everyday life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I think everyone who claims to be a free market capitalist should read this book so as not to over-do it

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