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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Paperback – Facsimile, February 15, 1977
History To Repeat & Some To Not
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Top Customer Reviews
Before you read Wealth of Nations, ask yourself, "Why am I reading this?" If you want to get an introduction to economics, then I suggest another books. One of the "Dork's Guide to Economics"-type books would be a better choice. I'd recommend Bastiat's "The Law" (ISBN : 0255365098 ), then read Sowell's "Basic Economics" (ISBN: 0465081452) and "Applied Economics" (ISBN: 0465081436).
However, if you want an advanced study of economics, or are an historian, then read this book. It is an essential classic in American History, on par with "The Federalist," "Democracy In America," and "Common Sense." Washington embodies the moral aspect of the American Revolution, Madison the governmental aspect, Jefferson the intellectual aspect, and Smith the economic aspect. After all, it is one thing to have a revolution; it is another thing to be able to pay for it.
Smith's main weakness is that he does not deal with economic theory. The main reason for this is that he had to invent modern economics theory. He is truly the godfather of the Industrial Revolution: we could not have the financing of Carnegie and Morgan without Adam's Smiths keen insights into the nature of economics and the fallacies of mercantilism. In a word, Smith pulled the world out of Middle Ages and laid the foundation for the future world prosperity.
Another perceived weakness is that it is over 200 years old. He uses archaic language, antiquated examples, such as butcher shops, corn trade, tedious histories of government regulation, and so forth.Read more ›
Well, the following is a list of things not generally talked about - in my casual exposure to economics - in regards to this work.
Smith, not surprisingly for a man of the Enlightenment, was a blank slate guy. The philosopher, we're told, differs from the porter "not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education". Smith's professional progeny, with less justification and an autistic-like inability to model human nature, has largely kept the notion of people as malleable economic units whose value can simply be altered by some inputs of education.
This is a book on the wealth of nations, not an argument for how trade is going to pacify the world and render borders obsolete as is the gospel sometimes preached - for at least a hundred years - by advocates of globalization. While Smith acknowledges that wealthy countries make great trading partners, he also notes their wealth makes them "dangerous in war and politics". (He also makes a not entirely unconvincing argument for standing armies being necessary. Part of it rests on the general efficacy of the specialization of labor.)
He also makes some, on the face of it, surprising digressions into what sort of established church should be supported and if public education is worthwhile - all under the section on how the government should be spending its money.Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting what Noam Chomsky says about this edition:
".... the University of Chicago, the great bastion of free market economics, etc., etc. Read more
Great. But there is a little scratch when I received the book.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good version of this timeless text. Not sure why most of the others leave off the last volume. The introductory information written by the editor helped me understand Smith's... Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbuswell
A much better edition than many of the currently available online. If you're serious about Smith's thought then this is worth a look.Published 7 months ago by cacology
fabulous for making you go to sleep at night. I use it when nothing else works. Besides this, it's an essential primer. :)Published 8 months ago by Charles Ferraro
The best unedited edition of Smith's Wealth of Nations. The one to own.Published 9 months ago by de Rougemont