Adam Smith
The Wealth of Nations

"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation that is governed by shopkeepers." (The Wealth of Nations)

Adam Smith was born on June 5th, 1723 in Kirkcaldy in Scotland, and little is known of his early life. He entered the University of Glasgow at the age of 14, already a center of excellence and seat of the Scottish Enlightenment. He won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford at the age of 17, but found it a dry and archaic environment compared with the challenge of new thought that he had experienced at Glasgow. Smith returned home to give a series of lectures at the University of Glasgow which were extremely well received. He was appointed Professor of Logic in 1751.

Smith became a central figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, making firm friends with David Hume, amongst others. Smith published a series of minor philosophical works which were soon to be overshadowed by The Wealth of Nations. He travelled on the Continent and added to his already considerable reputation, not only as an economist, but also as a social theorist.

The Wealth of Nations is indeed a work which transcends genres. It is a work of economic theory which nonetheless invades many other spheres of life, from philosophy to politics and social thought. It was well received at the time of publication and continues to be studied today: its breadth is such that it has weathered far better than many more modern economic texts. Smith died in Edinburgh on July 17th, 1790 and was immediately celebrated as one of the greatest minds of his era.

Links A detailed biography of Adam Smith
The Betrayal of Adam Smith Back information on Adam Smith
lucidcafe A brief biography on Adam Smith the Economist and Philosopher and some further information

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