Abstract

Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is often interpreted as an explanation of the self-regulating nature of the market system, where an “invisible hand” leads to a harmonious coordination of different economic agents’ pursuit of self-interest, so that economic development is brought about naturally through the division of labor. However, a closer reading of Smith’s contribution shows that he saw the expansion of the market as a process typically driven by military and political power. For Smith, cases of a natural and spontaneous growth of industry occur only due to exceptional circumstances.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2161-4741
Print ISSN
1074-164X
Pages
pp. 38-56
Launched on MUSE
2014-06-10
Open Access
No
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