Economics and Business

Adam Smith

Who was Adam Smith?

Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723–1790) is popular with conservative economists today because of his work titled The Wealth of Nations (written in 1776), which proposes a system of natural liberty in trade and commerce; in other words, a free-market economy. Smith, who was teaching at the University of Glasgow at the time, wrote, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production, and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.”

The Wealth of Nations established the classical school of political economy but has been faulted for showing no awareness of the developing Industrial Revolution. While Smith advocated both free-market competition and limited government intervention, he also viewed unemployment as a necessary evil to keep costs—and therefore prices—in check.


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