Smith was a well-known Scottish political economist and philosopher. He is most famous for his influential book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. Living an interesting life, publishing two remarkable books and having influential perspectives on economy then and now, Adam Smith is perhaps the procreator of economic thought.When Smith was young he learned an important lesson about labor from watching the workers at the local nail factory. He later wrote about his experience, describing how as team of workers each performing a specific task could make more nails faster than any one individually could make. This same story was used to answer the question, “What makes for the wealth of nations?”
Labor is important to the wealth of a nation;
This wealth should be shared by the workers not to a King;
The society cannot be wealthy and happy if most of the people are poor and miserable.
Major contributions of Adam Smith
Adam Smith is called the father of modern economics.
Although he lived over two cenago, his tenets of economic principles are still applicable in our world today. He recognized and described major concepts in economics. Smiths’ book The Wealth of A1ation.s is noted to be the first serious attempt to study the nature of capital and the historical development of industry and commerce among European nations. According to Wallace, “Smith’s Wealth of Nations represents the first serious attempt in the history of economic thought to divorce the study of political economy from the related fields of political science, ethics and jurisprudence. It embodies a penetrating analysis of the processes whereby economic wealth is produced and distributed and demonstrates the fundamental sources of all income, that is, the basic forms in which wealth is distributed, are rent, wages, and profits.”
Adam Smith was part of a group of theorists who were concerned with economic thought. Some of his ideals were the results of those interactions. According to Lappe, Smith’s work The Theory of Moral Sentiments, in which he outlined his philosophy of human nature, was the psychological foundation for the later work; The Wealth of Nations. She points out that the utilitarian principle; The greatest happiness for the greatest number of people is much of the basis of the Wealth of Nations. In essence, Adam Smith recognized and communicated the influence of the human psyche on the economic decision making process. The formalized much of the economic theorists world views.
Smith was born in a small village in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland in 1723 with the exact date being unknown. However, he was baptized on June 5, 1723. His father, also named Adam, died about six months before his birth. Smith was raised by his mother and was the only child in the household.
Smith’s mother devoted herself to him from the very beginning. He was in fragile health as a baby, needing his mother’s comfort. She also encouraged his education at an early age. As a result, others looked at her as spoiling him.
When Smith was about three years old, he and his mother went to Strathenry to visit his uncle. He was playing in the courtyard until gypsies had come along and kidnapped him. His uncle had noticed him missing and upon learning that gypsies had passed through, he tracked them down and recovered Smith.
Smith attended the grammar school of Kirkaldy and then entered the University of Glasgow at the age of fourteen. He was sent to Balliol College in Oxford at the age of seventeen as a Snell exhibitioner. This was for the purpose of grooming himself for service in the Church of England. Gaining extensive knowledge of European literature, he left Balliol after seven years and returned to Scotland.
Adam was appointed Professor of Logic at Glasgow University in 1751 and then was made first chair of moral philosophy in 1752. Ethics, rhetoric, jurisprudence and political economy served as the basis for his lectures. His lectures are embodied in “Theory of Moral Sentiments” published in 1759, which discusses standards of ethical conduct that hold society together, with emphasis on the harmony of human motives and activities under a beneficent Providence.
Smith left the university in 1764 to tutor the young Duke of Buccleuch. From 1764 to 1766 they lived and traveled throughout France and Switzerland, where he came into contact with intellectual leaders and contemporaries such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Francois Quesnay and Anne-Robert- Jacques Turgot. He returned home to Kirkcaldy for ten years.
In 1776, Adam moved to London. He published “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, which examines in detail the consequences of economic freedom. It further covers concepts such as the role of self-interest, the division of labor, the function of markets, and the international implications of a laissez-faire economy. This is also the same year that the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Adam was appointed to a post of commissioner of customs in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1778. He never married. He died there two years later on July 17,1790, after an illness.
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