Adam Smith and the Reasoning Behind his Thoughts on the Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith and the Reasoning Behind his Thoughts on the Wealth of Nations

Length: 1622 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The power of reasoning allows limitless inquiry into the nature of all things. Adam Smith an “enlightened” thinker utilizes reasoning to examine the wealth of nations, but in acting on this reasoning is he forcing his own sentiments into his argument, or is the reasoning creating the sentiments? Smith offers an exposition for his vision of a laissez faire economy, that is, capitalism in the modern sense. In a wider scope, Smith's account reveals his views on the nature of the human condition, and not a single theme is surveyed without an observation being made upon human tendencies and decisions. Arguably, these observations are shaped by his own sentiments.
Smith makes about three claims about human nature. Primarily, Smith assumes that self-interest is inherent in all human beings. One particular point stands out when Smith states the human “will be more likely to prevail if he can interest others’ self-love in his favor, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them.” Later, Smith depends on this “self-love” to ground his arguments on the steady base of human nature. Significantly less obvious, the “faculties of reason and speech” play a critical part in Smith’s treatment of human behavior. Although he never openly lists these “faculties” as essential to human nature, his argument relies on this assumption. This reliance on assumption is demonstrative of Smith’s relationship between reason and sentiment. Whereas, he uses reasoning to form sentiment, yet much of his sentiments stem from broad assumptions.
The step from having some goods and needing others to trading with those who have the needed goods and want the overabundant ones cannot be understood or warranted without the pre...

... middle of paper ...

...niversality of human nature. While attempting to prove his theories, Smith relies upon observations that are undoubtly biased due to human nature. These sentiments that Smith explains are based on observational assumptions.
Adam Smith often called the “founder of modern economics,” utilizes his observational assumptions to construct his own rationale for society, economics, and human nature. His observations are based on sentiments regarding issues that are far ranging. Within the Wealth of Nations Smith makes claims regarding human nature, such as “self-love” is inherent, the faculties of reason and speech, and the nature of humans to “truck and barter.” Smith examines the notion of a free market economy that is based upon reason rather than belief. This poignant observation on human nature has its bias and facts, with regards to Smith’s examination of society.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Unequal Distribution of Wealth

- ... Smith could foresee that the world in his era had not changed much from the previous period in this regard; the only difference from one era to the next is that the issues were concealed better and are less transparent and these are the issues that were set -forth by Smith. The truth and facts about “Unequal distribution” can cause social division and hatred towards different groups of people due to this fact. Smith of course could foresee the social effect of the unequal division of wealth, as it relates to the contradiction which seems to be at the main cause of the argument....   [tags: poor, wealthy, adam smith]

Powerful Essays
787 words (2.2 pages)

Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations Essay

- The pivotal second chapter of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, "Of the Principle which gives occasion to the Division of Labour," opens with the oft-cited claim that the foundation of modern political economy is the human "propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another."1 This formulation plays both an analytical and normative role. It offers an anthropological microfoundation for Smith's understanding of how modern commercial societies function as social organizations, which, in turn, provide a venue for the expression and operation of these human proclivities....   [tags: Wealth of Nations]

Powerful Essays
3049 words (8.7 pages)

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations - The Natural Order is Driven by Man’s Self-interest

- Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations - The Natural Order is Driven by Man’s Self-interest Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations argues for a system of political economy that separates economy – the creation and distribution of wealth – from governmental interference. In Smith’s view, the economy of a nation grows as a direct consequence of private business ventures in the interest of each individual owner. Regulation by the government hurts the economy, and the progress of society is derived from the flow of the market....   [tags: Adam Smith The Wealth of Nations]

Powerful Essays
854 words (2.4 pages)

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith: THe Beginning of Capitalism Essays

- The first and most basic economic principal that needs to be understood is that God owns everything (Sproul, 2014). God created everything and He chose man to manage all that is His (Sproul, 2014). There has always been a strong connection between economics and Christian thought (Anderson, 2001). Scriptures will help evaluate the very foundation of each economic theory (Anderson, 2001). The free enterprise system has provided the greatest amount of freedom and the most effective economic gains of any economic system ever devised (Anderson, 2001)....   [tags: rural areas, stable economy]

Powerful Essays
1948 words (5.6 pages)

Free Trade and Globalization in The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Essay

- In the modern world of contemporary economics trade liberilisation and globalization are constantly debated topics. One side of the arguing that free trade and globalization will lead ultimately lead to developing countries being alleviated of poverty and developed nation’s GDP will reflect an increase that would otherwise be unattainable. The other side of the argument however claims that there is already contrary evidence that the introduction of free trade unfairly favors developed nations and that it cripples infant industries....   [tags: international trade, economies]

Powerful Essays
1115 words (3.2 pages)

The Importance of Adam Smith's Work to Economic Thought Essay

- The Importance of Adam Smith's Work to Economic Thought Adam Smith is widely regarded as the father of economics as a social science, and is perhaps best known for his work The Wealth of Nations. Throughout this work Smith states and informs towards his belief that society is not at its most productive when ruled over by rules and limitations with regards to trade, and that in order for markets to maximise prosperity, a free trade environment should be made accessible. In this essay I intend to asses the way in which many of Smiths theories taken directly form his works can be applied to past and current situations, first from an economic then social, and then a political point of view....   [tags: Adam Smith Economy Economics]

Powerful Essays
1609 words (4.6 pages)

Pursuit of Wealth Essay

- Throughout history, there has always been a pursuit of wealth; meaning, not just “money,” but also power, land, freedom, and possessions. Under a moral, trustworthy government this is not a problem, it is when the government is corrupt that issues tend to proceed. The pursuit of wealth has had a mostly positive with some negative effects on the development of civilization up until this point; some examples include the fall of Rome, capitalist and communist economic systems, and the American Revolution....   [tags: wealth, ]

Powerful Essays
824 words (2.4 pages)

Adam Smith in the Modern World Essay

- The question was “How would Adam Smith respond to modern day claims that unequal distribution of wealth leads to social unrest?” After researching multiple different sites and reading the book I came to my answer. “No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable (Smith).” Adam Smith’s thoughts on unequal distribution completely computes with what these words are trying to say. This an extremely important statement made by Adam smith because it really equates to society today and I think that he would still agree with this statement today....   [tags: Unequal Distribution of Wealth, Social Unrest]

Powerful Essays
873 words (2.5 pages)

Adam Smith Essay

- “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” A famous writer from the time of the Enlightenment said this famous quote. He goes by the name of Adam Smith who was perhaps the most famous economist of all time. He was born in 1723 in Kirkaidy, Scotland and died in 1790. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Glasgow. He wrote some famous pieces of writing that were very influential to today’s society we live in....   [tags: The Wealth of Nations, ]

Powerful Essays
1449 words (4.1 pages)

Essay Adam Smith

- Adam Smith Adam Smith, a brilliant eighteenth-century Scottish political economist, had the advantage of judging the significance ol colonies by a rigorous examination based on the colonial experience of 300 years. His overview has a built-in bias: he strongly disapproved of excessive regulation of colonial trade by parent countries. But his analysis is rich with insight and remarkably dispassionate in its argument. Adam Smith recognized that the discovery of the New World not only brought wealth and prosperity to the Old World, but that it also marked a divide in the history of mankind....   [tags: Political Economist Adam Smith Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
4989 words (14.3 pages)