This edition includes:An abridged selection of all 5 books for the contemporary reader An original commentary offering new research and analysis by classic literature guru Tom Butler-Bowdon A biography and chronology of Adam Smith's life and the events surrounding the original publication of the work
Today, The Wealth of Nations is still essential reading for any business or self-development library, reminding us that it is the ingenuity and drive of people, not governments, that remains the source of personal, national and global prosperity.
Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations is the great pioneering study of economic growth and performance. When first published in 1776, the factory-based Industrial Revolution was only just getting underway. However, there had been steadily rising production and incomes in Britain, the North American colonies, Holland and other countries since at least the late 17th century.
Smith uses basic theory, observation and documentary sources to analyze the nature and causes of economic advancement in general.
The book is lengthy and wide-ranging. It examines the contributions to production of labour, land and capital. It explains the economic importance of large buoyant markets and industrial specialization. It also shows that national wealth does not depend on economic factors alone. For example, the favourableness or otherwise of the political-legal environment for industry and commerce is everywhere a major influence on national prosperity.
This is a moderately abridged current language version of the book – essentially translating the work into modern English to improve its readability and understandability. The translation is substantive but retains literalness and original word order and grammar as far as possible.
BOOK 1: INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND INCOMES
Chapter 1: Industrial Specialization
Chapter 2: The Origins Of Industrial Specialization
Chapter 3: The Extent Of The Market Limits Specialization
Chapter 4: The Origins And Use Of Money
Chapter 5: The Real Economic And Nominal Monetary Prices Of Goods
Chapter 6: Supply Prices, Production Costs And Incomes
Chapter 7: The Natural And Market Prices Of Products
Chapter 8: The Wages Of Labour
Chapter 9: The Profits Of Capital
Chapter 10: Wages And Profits In Different Trades
Chapter 11: The Rent Of Land
BOOK 2: CAPITAL – ITS NATURE, ACCUMULATION AND USES
Chapter 1: Different Types Of Capital
Chapter 2: Monetary Capital
Chapter 3: The Accumulation Of Capital
Chapter 4: Capital Lent At Interest
Chapter 5: The Different Uses Of Capital
BOOK 3: NATIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH AND PERFORMANCE DIFFERENCES
Chapter 1: The Natural Process Of Economic Growth
Chapter 2: The Discouragement Of Agriculture In Europe After The Fall Of The Roman Empire
Chapter 3: Urban Growth And Manufacturing After The Fall Of The Roman Empire
Chapter 4: The Contribution Of Urban Industry And Commerce To Rural Economies
BOOK 4: POLITICAL-ECONOMIC THEORIES AND POLICIES
Chapter 1: The Mercantilist Political Economic Model
Chapter 2: Restrictions On Importing Goods Capable Of Domestic Production
Chapter 3: Restrictions On Imports To Correct So-called Disadvantageous Trade Balances
Chapter 4: Tax Refunds On Exports
Chapter 5: Export Subsidies
Chapter 6: Treaties Of Commerce
Chapter 7: Colonies
Chapter 8: The Mercantilist System – Conclusions
Chapter 9: The Agricultural Political Economic Model – The Notion Of Land As The Great Source Of National Wealth
BOOK 5: GOVERNMENT FINANCES – PUBLIC EXPENDITURE, TAXATION AND BORROWING
Chapter 1: Government Expenditure
Chapter 2: The Sources Of General Public Revenues
Chapter 3: Public Debts
According, therefore, as this produce, or what is purchased with it, bears a greater or smaller proportion to the number of those who are to consume it, the nation will be better or worse supplied with all the necessaries and conveniencies for which it has occasion.
But this proportion must in every nation be regulated by two different circumstances: first, by the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which its labour is generally applied; and, secondly, by the proportion between the number of those who are employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed. Whatever be the soil, climate, or extent of territory of any particular nation, the abundance or scantiness of its annual supply must, in that particular situation, depend upon those two circumstances.
The abundance or scantiness of this supply, too, seems to depend more upon the former of those two circumstances than upon the latter. Among the savage nations of hunters and fishers, every individual who is able to work is more or less employed in useful labour, and endeavours to provide, as well as he can, the necessaries and conveniencies of life, for himself, and such of his family or tribe as are either too old, or too young, or too infirm, to go a-hunting and fishing. Such nations, however, are so miserably poor, that, from mere want, they are frequently reduced, or at least think themselves reduced, to the necessity sometimes of directly destroying, and sometimes of abandoning their infants, their old people, and those afflicted with lingering diseases, to perish with hunger, or to be devoured by wild beasts. Among civilized and thriving nations, on the contrary, though a great number of people do not labour at all, many of whom consume the produce of ten times, frequently of a hundred times, more labour than the greater part of those who work; yet the produce of the whole labour of the society is so great, that all are often abundantly supplied; and a workman, even of the lowest and poorest order, if he is frugal and industrious, may enjoy a greater share of the necessaries and conveniencies of life than it is possible for any savage to acquire.