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The Wealth of Nations Summary

Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations

by Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

5 min
3 key insights
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The Wealth of Nations is a five-volume collection that covers the fundamentals of political economy and the principles of economic growth.

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The Wealth of Nations

by Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

Overview

Today, a free-market economy is taken as a given in much of the world, but it wasn't always this way. We owe many of the principles of the free market to 18th-century philosopher Adam Smith.

Smith was a Scottish economist who pioneered the discipline of political economy. His work largely focused on the importance of free trade. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith's earlier work on philosophy and ethics, laid the moral and philosophical groundwork for his magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations.

Initially published in 1776, The Wealth of Nations is still considered a landmark work in classical economics. Smith comprehensively explains how nations built their wealth by regulating markets at the start of the Industrial Revolution. The philosopher also explores the basic themes of political economy, including division of labor, state law, and taxation.

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"Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog."

Adam Smith

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The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith

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