Adam Smith and "The Wealth of Nations" Essay by JPWrite

Adam Smith and "The Wealth of Nations"
An overview and analysis of Adam Smith's economic theories and how these theories influenced the development of capitalism, socialism and communism.
# 65339 | 1,640 words | 5 sources | APA | 2006 | US
Published on May 07, 2006 in Political Science (Communism) , Economics (Labor) , Economics (General)

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This paper discusses the underlying theory of Adam Smith's book "The Wealth of Nations", explaining that Smith saw labor, not money, as a nation's greatest asset. The paper further explains that this view strongly reflected the economic situation of the time brought about by the Industrial Revolution and then goes on to explain that Smith saw competition as a natural outcome of the specialization bred by the division of labor. Next, the paper explains how Smith's views were later elaborated upon by other economic theorists and how these theorists, as well as Smith, ultimately influenced the political philosophies of capitalism, socialism and even communism.

From the Paper:

"1776 was not only the year of the American revolution, more meaningful to us in this country, of course, but also the publication of "Inquiry into Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, who had spent most of his years either in France, or working on moral issues as a professor in Scotland. The book has set the standard for what has become the modern science of political economy. Its basic contention is that "national progress is best secured by the freedom of private initiative within the bounds of justice." (Enc. Am., p. 111) Before Smith, the basic economy of the Western world was built around agriculture. This was the beginning of the industrial Revolution, and the old economic ideas were becoming outdated. For example, the economists who preceded Smith believed that the farmer was the only true producer, and the landlord (whether it was the farmer or another landowner) was the manager and superintendent of production. The step that was taken prior to Smith was the recognition that it would be more efficient for a single farmer to hire some help, especially craftsmen who were specialists in the things the farmer was inefficient in. This, then, was really the beginning of "labor" recognized as an important aspect of a nation's wealth."

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