- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (March 17, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393955303
- ISBN-13: 978-0393955309
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Essential Adam Smith 0th Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Founding father of economic conservatism, Smith nevertheless sympathized with the working class and scorned landlords and other capitalists whom he deemed incapable of heeding public regulations. Today his books are frequently quoted yet seldom read. To remedy this situation, Heilbroner (The Worldly Philosophers has done an admirable job of abridging The Wealth of Nations and Smith's other major writings. Current debate has centered on Smith's theory of the "Invisible Hand," the self-regulating mechanism of a free-market economy, which has proved increasingly irrelevant in the face of structural unemployment and large-scale industry. But Heilbroner points out that the Invisible Hand, far more than a ghostly economic planner, was meant to provide the underpinnings for a workable system of social and moral order. Heilbroner emphasizes that Smith was far less optimistic than many people assume; though he considered capitalism the basis for personal freedom, he expected that both the propertied class and the workers would push for their narrow self-interests. The skillfully edited selections cut through Smith's cant and rhetoric.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Few writings are more often cited as a cornerstone of modern economic thought than those of Adam Smith. Few are less read. The sheer length of his great work, 'The Wealth of Nations', discourages many from attempting to explore its rich and lucid arguments. In this brilliantly crafted volume, one of the most eminent economists of our day provides a generous selection from the entire body of Smith's work, ranging from his fascinating observations on the psychological nature of man to his famous treatise on what Smith called a 'society of natural liberty, ' The Wealth of Nations.
Top customer reviews
Analytical Review: Heilbroner says that many people quote Adam Smith for their ideas, without actually having read Smith. This short work should help correct that, and I would recommend it (especially for the second half on The Wealth of Nations) as a concise introduction to Smith's thought. Both books would be over three times the length of this volume, so Heilbroner has slimmed the work down considerably, without sacrificing too much of its important meaning. Reading Smith, one is surprised how much his labor theory of value initially correspond to that of Marx, but Smith is much more comfortable with the use of money, and shifts away from the labor theory to market and exchange as the center of value. Like Marx's Capital, there may be parts to agree with, parts to dissent from here. Smith clearly would not give "carte blanche" to the capitalist, as many later thinkers would maintain. In fact Smith quite succinctly says that we should very skeptical of any legislation that is heavily sponsored by the commercial sector, as their interests are often contrary to the public interest. While Smith champions the free market, he has also some consideration for the poor. What he lacks, however, is the crystal clear solidarity with the working poor that is demonstrated in Marx's Capital. Smith's theory makes it seem as if capitalism results in a tide of wealth where all boats rise. This indeed may be true, but it also results in very gross and considerable inequalities. If people would read both works before they may hasty judgments about capitalism or socialism, it would certainly be beneficial.