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The Wealth of Nations
“Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality.”
Adam Smith (1723-1790) was one of the brightest stars of the eighteenth-century Scottish Enlightenment. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was his most important book. First published in London in March 1776, it had been eagerly anticipated by Smith’s contemporaries and became an immediate bestseller. That edition sold out quickly and others followed. Today, Smith’s Wealth of Nations rightfully claims a place in the Western intellectual canon. It is the first book of modern political economy, and still provides the foundation for the study of that discipline. But it is much more than that. Along with important discussions of economics and political theory, Smith mixed plain common sense with large measures of history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and much else. Few texts remind us so clearly that the Enlightenment was very much a lived experience, a concern with improving the human condition in practical ways for real people. A masterpiece by any measure, Wealth of Nations remains a classic of world literature to be usefully enjoyed by readers today.
Although the exact date of Smith's birth is unknown, his baptism was recorded on 16 June 1723 at Kirkcaldy.
A Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Adam Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics.