The Wealth of Nations was published 9 March 1776 by Adam Smith, during the Scottish Enlightenment and the Scottish Agricultural Revolution.
The prevailing view was that gold and silver was wealth, and that countries should boost exports and resist imports in order to maximize this metal wealth. Smith’s radical insight was that a nation’s wealth is really the stream of goods and services that it creates.
Today, we would call it gross national product. And the way to maximise it, Smith argued, was not to restrict the nation’s productive capacity, but to set it free.
Smith believes that government itself must be limited. Its core functions are maintaining defence, keeping order, building infrastructure and promoting education. It should keep the market economy open and free, and not act in ways that distort it.
The book has influenced a number of authors and economists, as well as governments and organizations.
In fact, many authors used it as a starting point in their own work, including Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo.
Buy the book on Amazon!