Author: Adam Smith
Synopsis by Nowshin Rahman
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Published by Adam Smith, a Scottish philosopher and founder of economics, The Wealth of Nations has been described as the most impactful book on the blooming industrialized capitalist system. Throughout this book, Smith established the idea of the “invisible hand,” which he had introduced earlier in his book The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This book reflected how the author did not support the government’s interference in market activities; instead, he expected the government to provide protection, laws, and public services.
The Wealth of Nations consists of five books, each reflecting how human nature and “self interest” promote prosperity. In this book, the author gave birth to the “free market,” which is not regulated by the government and other regulatory factors. The labor force, wages, rents, and profits are discussed in this book under causes of improvement in the productive powers of labor. Mercantilism, which promotes tariffs on traded goods from abroad, was criticized by the author in this book. Smith overturned the concept of mercantilism by proving the damaging effects of the tariff.
Overall it’s a great choice of book for someone interested in the history of economics and political economics. Contemporary readers would find it insightful as Smith’s critical thinking starts dwelling on them.
Contextual knowledge is quite crucial for reading ‘The Wealth of Nations'. Basic definitions of economics and political economics are a prerequisite here. Since this book is divided into multiple sections and each section is focused on individual essential economic practices, readers need not have to read this book in any order; they can select and read any section of their interest if they want to.