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The Wealth of Nations (Bantam Classics) Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2003
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--Robert L. Heilbroner
From the Inside Flap
by Adam Smith
It is symbolic that Adam Smith?s masterpiece of economic analysis, The Wealth of Nations, was first published in 1776, the same year as the Declaration of Independence.
In his book, Smith fervently extolled the simple yet enlightened notion that individuals are fully capable of setting and regulating prices for their own goods and services. He argued passionately in favor of free trade, yet stood up for the little guy. The Wealth of Nations provided the first--and still the most eloquent--integrated description of the workings of a market economy.
The result of Smith?s efforts is a witty, highly readable work of genius filled with prescient theories that form the basis of a thriving capitalist system. This unabridged edition offers the modern reader a fresh look at a timeless and seminal work that revolutionized the way governments and individuals view the creation and dispersion of wealth--and that continues to influence our economy right up to the present day.
- ASIN : 0553585975
- Publisher : Bantam Classics; Annotated edition (March 4, 2003)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 1264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780553585971
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553585971
- Lexile measure : 1500L
- Item Weight : 1.31 pounds
- Dimensions : 4.16 x 1.98 x 6.87 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book holds the keys to national prosperity. It's almost unfathomable to me that one book can teach so much. You will learn about what an economy is, trade, wages, banking, monetary policy, taxes, public debts, agriculture, history, the list goes on and on.
This book is must-read.
Now a review of this specific edition: The font is quite small which makes it hard to read. This is especially a consideration for a 586 page book. I suggest finding another (rather than this Simon & Brown).
I’m hereafter comparing only two extracts from my hardcopy with the fraudulent copy, which is riddled with similar nonsense. My hardcopy is: “The Wealth of Nations, Complete and Unabridged, Introduction by Robert Reich, Edited with Notes, Marginal Summary and Enlarged Index, by Edwin Cannan. 2000 Modern Library Paperback Edition.” Hereafter, I refer to the latter as Book A. The fraudulent Kindle book edition is: Adam Smith, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, which I refer to hereafter as Book B.
First extract, Book A, INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK, page xxiv: “The abundance or scantiness of this supply too seems to depend more on 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, …”
Compare Book B., Location 105: “The abundance or scantiness of this deliver, too, appears to rely extra upon the previous of those instances than upon the latter. Among the savage nations of hunters and fishers, every character who’s capable of paintings is greater or less employed in useful labour, …”.
Second extract, Book A: Chapter 1, page 7: “In Poland there are stated to be scarce any manufactures of any kind, a few of those coarser household manufactures excepted, without which no country can well subsist.”
Compare Book B: Location 220: “In Poland there are stated to be scarce any manufactures of any type, some of these coarser manufactures excepted, with out which no u.S.A. Can nicely exist.” Excuse me!
Particularly interesting were his thesis on "Division of Labor"(page 15), rules of market place based on self interest(page 23-24), description of banking crisis (page 395), free trade (page 572, with the famous "invisible hand"), property rights (page 684), description of Founding Fathers in US (page 790), free market principle (page 873), rule of law (page 901, 1157), role of government (page 919), human nature and incentives (page 965), freedom of religion (page 1000-1001), progressive tax system (page 1065), government debt (page 1171), currency devaluation (page 1185).
Many of the ideas that form a basis of American/Western society can be traced back to the ideas found in Wealth of Nations, which would be no small feat. (Rules of the market place, rule of law, property rights, freedom of religion comes to mind.)
I would recommend it to anyone who has the will and time to peruse this superb volume.
Top reviews from other countries
The good part is that you can read it like a novel. Its story telling for the most part which makes it s pleasure at times. It took me over 1 month to compete this book, and yes I had to skim over some topics because I didn't find them relevant in the modern era. This is not a book for faint hearted, it will test you character to solider on. Perseverance is a virtue, which you will need in plenty whist read this book. Some of the topics like the funding of east India Company was very interesting to me. The author rightly points out that India and Egypt and too some extend China were still mostly focused on agriculture while the UK was already playing the money game with debt financing of their companies like the East India Company. No wonder the UK went on to rule the world. It was centuries ahead.
If you read this book, then you should because its a classic. I am surprised at way Adam Smith with no formal Economic background and with mostly power of observation was about to deduce so much out of the world around him and write a classic which even to this day is as relevant as it was then.
The notes provided by Kathryn Sutherland make reading the book even more fascinating and instructive. Concepts that are strange to us (the feudal system, for example) are explained clearly and concisely.
Smith paints a very clear picture of the times he lived in and we get wonderful descriptions of the thrusting American colonies; the little-industrialised France; and under-developed China.
Smith is generally against anything that hinders trade and recommends that markets be as free as possible, but to associate him with more modern monetarist theories is quite unfair.
The Wealth of Nations takes a long time to read, but if you want to understand our current crisis properly, it is essential reading.