The Wealth of Nations

The Wealth of Nations
Wealth of Nations.jpg
AuthorAdam Smith
GenreEconomics, Philosophy
PublisherW. Strahan and T. Cadell, London
Publication date

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.

It is the second most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950, behind Karl Marx's Capital.[1]

Summary of Wealth of Nations

An important theme that persists throughout the work is the idea that the economic system is automatic, and, when left with substantial freedom, able to regulate itself. This is often referred to as the "invisible hand." The ability to self-regulate and to ensure maximum efficiency, however, is limited by externalities, monopolies, tax preferences, lobbying groups, and other "privileges" extended to certain members of the economy at the expense of others.[2]

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