The Wealth of Nations


By Adam Smith

cover image of The Wealth of Nations

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The 18th century isn't known for the brevity of its book titles, as is the case with Adam Smith's massively influential Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Before the terms capitalism or even economics were coined, Smith, a moral philosopher from Scotland, laid out the essential laws governing the markets of the world. Smith suggested the free market is guided by a so-called "invisible hand," which produces the right amount of goods and services a society needs through self-interested competition. Later Smith's ideas would be massaged to fit various ideologies, but on the whole he was anti-monopoly and wary of businessmen as a rule. Despite all the complexities of modern economic theory that it influenced, Wealth of Nations is still a straightforward, enlightening and enjoyable read.

The Wealth of Nations