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The Wisdom of Adam Smith

John Haggarty

Publication Year: 2012

Adam Smith was an eloquent man of considerable philosophical and historical learning. His most incisive and enduring observations are collected here on subjects ranging from political and economic history to morals, art, education, war, and the American colonies. Throughout, notes an admirer in the introduction, "his writing is blessedly free of that use of jargon (and mathematics) that characterizes most of the modern materials in economics. His ideas are expressed in a lucid, straightforward manner that makes them accessible to all."

Published by: Liberty Fund

Title Page, Copyright

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Table of Content,

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pp. 5-8

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pp. 9-12

Even an admitted Adam Smith buff - as I happily admit to being - may be somewhat embarrassed by this claim made by English historian Henry Thomas Buckle. But that Smith's ideas did have consequencesfor the better or for the worse, depending...

Selector's Note,

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pp. 13-14

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1. Education

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pp. 15-20

There is scarce any man ... who by discipline, education, and example, may not be so impressed with a regard to general rules, as to act upon almost every occasion with tolerable decency, and through the whole of his life to avoid any considerable degree...

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2. Art and Aesthetics

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pp. 21-26

In all the liberal and ingenious arts, in painting, in poetry, in music, in eloquence, in philosophy, the great artist feels always the real imperfection of his own best works, and is more sensible than any man how much they fall short of...

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3. Philosophy

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pp. 27-32

By nature a philosopher is not in genius and disposition half so different from a street porter, as a mastiff is from a greyhound, or a greyhound from a spaniel, or this last from a shepherd's dog...

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4. Natural Theology and Religion

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pp. 33-38

The idea of that divine Being, whose benevolence and wisdom have from all eternity contrived and conducted the immense machine of the universe so as at all times to produce the greatest possible...

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5. Conduct and Morality

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pp. 39-44

I n every civilised society, in every society where the distinction of ranks has once been completely established, there have been always two different schemes or systems of morality current at the same time; of which the one may be called the strict...

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6. Virtue and Vice

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pp. 45-52

We are angry for a moment, even at the stone that hurts us. A child beats it, a dog barks at it, a choleric man is apt to curse it. The least reflection, indeed, corrects this sentiment, and we soon become...

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7. Sympathy

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pp. 53-58

Commiseration for those miseries which we never saw, which we never heard of, but which we may be assured are at all times infesting such numbers of our fellow- creatures, ought, they think, to damp the pleasures of the fortunate, and to render a certain...

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8. The Impartial Spectator

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pp. 59-66

When I endeavour to examine my own conduct, when I endeavour to pass sentence on it, and either to approve or condemn it, it is evident that, in all such cases, I divide myself, as it were, into two persons; and that I, the examiner and...

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9. Self-Interest

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pp. 67-72

I n every part of the universe we observe means adjusted with the nicest artifice to the ends which they are intended to produce; and in the mechanism of a plant, or animal body, admire how every thing is contrived for advancing the two great purposes...

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10. Money, Gold, and Wealth

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pp. 73-80

That wealth consists in money, or in gold and silver, is a popular notion which naturally arises from the double function of money, as the instrument of commerce and as the measure of value. In consequence of its being the instrument of commerce, when we...

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11. Labour and Wages

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pp. 81-92

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

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12. Capital and Profit

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pp. 93-102

I n that rude state of society in which there is no division of labour, in which exchanges are seldom made, and in which every man provides everything for himself, it is not necessary that any stock...

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13. Land and Rent

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pp. 103-110

The lands of no country, it is evident, can ever be completely cultivated and improved till once the price of every produce, which human industry is obliged to raise upon them, has got so high as to pay for the expense of complete improvement...

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14. The Market and Prices

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pp. 111-122

The word value, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession...

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15. An Invisible Hand

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pp. 123-128

As every individual ... endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render...

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16. Monopoly and Free Trade

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pp. 129-142

In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public, the freer and more general the competition, it will always be...

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17. Taxation

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pp. 143-152

Before I enter upon the examination of particular taxes, it is necessary to premise the four following maxims with regard to taxes in general. I. The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government...

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18. Colonies

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pp. 153-164

The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. Their consequences have already been very great; but, in the short period...

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19. War

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pp. 165-170

An industrious, and upon that account a wealthy nation, is of all nations the most likely to be attacked; and unless the state takes some new measures for the public defence, the natural habits of the people render them altogether incapable of defending...

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20. Patriotism

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pp. 171-176

We do not love our country merely as a part of the great society of mankind - we love it for its own sake, and independently of any such consideration. That wisdom which contrived the system...

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21. Ambition

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pp. 177-184

Those great objects of self-interest, of which the loss or aquisition quite changes the rank of the person, are the objects of the passion properly called ambition; a passion which, when it keeps within...

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22. Government

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pp. 185-200

What institution of government could tend so much to promote the happiness of mankind as the general prevalence of wisdom and virtue? All government is but an imperfect remedy for the deficiency...

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23. Law and Justice

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pp. 201-210

I f there is any society among robbers and murderers, they must at least, according to the trite observation, abstain from robbing and murdering one another. Beneficence, therefore, is less essential...

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24. Man and Society

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pp. 211-228

Political economy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects: first, to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such a revenue...


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pp. 229-233

Publication Information

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pp. 234-240

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878056
E-ISBN-10: 1614878056
Print-ISBN-13: 9780913966228

Page Count: 234
Publication Year: 2012

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