Analysis of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Essay examples

Analysis of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Essay examples

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Analysis of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith


People of the same trade seldom meet together,
even for merriment and diversion,
but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public,
or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Adam Smith

The reasons for writing a book such as Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations are many,
and Smith seems to have had several in mind. His study traces the stages in the
development of the modern economic system in an attempt to explain it, maps out the
origins of money, and finally tackles the issues facing the mercantile system which
controlled the society he lived in. In the process, he provides an exposition for his vision
of a laissez faire economy, that is, capitalism as we now know it. More broadly, however,
Smith's account reveals his views on the nature of the human condition, and not a single
theme is explored without some observation being made upon human tendencies and
decisions. Most importantly, however, one finds that Smith's views have often been
interpreted in a very simplistic way by modern economists and used selectively as
justification for contemporary decision-making processes. Moreso, certain criticisms and
reflections made by Smith, in particular, his scorn for businessmen, would appear to
have been (conveniently?) overlooked.

Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of nations as a result of some eighteen years of
contemplation. The book, which is concerned with the wealth of nations, that is, the
standard of living and the effect that economic prosperity has upon general opulence, is
outlined well in Adam Smith's own introduction. Smith wrote the book to explain how a
country like England, a commercial society, could prosper. To explain this fully, Smith
f...


... middle of paper ...


...er years, also became a customs official. He will have had some knowledge of
"the sneaking arts of underling tradesmen"; perhaps enough to permanently sour his
views about the motives behind the policy arguments of businessmen.

It is easy to see where the success of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations lies. While
the political theories may not have been entirely new nor revolutionary, they are
succinctly presented, and, coupled with his observations on humanity, serve as a
narrative for modern society. And, while recognition is given to the short-comings of any
system due to the fallibility of human nature, Smith offers an alternative to the mercantile
system of his day which he considered so tyrannous. We can only hope that his
cynicism about the nature and cations of the business community can be rejuvenated
and acted upon positively in the near future.

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