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25 апреля 2009 | Автор: Admin | Рубрика: Научная литература » Экономика | Комментариев: 0

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations By Adam Smith
University Of Chicago Press | Pages: 1152 | Date: 1977-02-15 | ISBN: 0226763749 | PDF | 3,5MB

Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was recognized as a landmark of human thought upon its publication in 1776. As the first scientific argument for the principles of political economy, it is the point of departure for all subsequent economic thought. Smith’s theories of capital accumulation, growth, and secular change, among others, continue to be influential in modern economics.

This reprint of Edwin Cannan’s definitive 1904 edition of The Wealth of Nations includes Cannan’s famous introduction, notes, and a full index, as well as a new preface written especially for this edition by the distinguished economist George J. Stigler. Mr. Stigler’s preface will be of value for anyone wishing to see the contemporary relevance of Adam Smith’s thought.

Summary: Monumental Importance
Rating: 4

The Wealth of Nations is one of the most important books ever written. In some respects the Wealth of Nations was a tract for the times. Smith penned a crippling critique of the mercantilist `Policy of Europe’. Smith, along with David Hume and David Ricardo, refuted the mercantilist case for protectionism. Much of what we read in this book is still taught in modern economics classes. Modern day protectionists still have no answer to the principles of absolute and comparative advantage, and for the basic logic of Hume’s specie flow mechanism.

Smith was more than an ordinary economist. He was a visionary who saw some of the potential for progress through Globalization. Perhaps the most important concept of this book is the dynamics between division of labor, labor productivity, and the extent of markets. Smith conceived of Globalization as a process that would raise productivity as local markets expanded to national and then international scope. His example of division of labor in a pin factory is simple, but illustrative.

The most widely known part of this book is that part of the `invisible hand of markets’. Invisible hand reasoning still pervades modern economic theory, though there are some variations in how economists interpret this concept. Smith does differ from Modern economists on certain issues. Smith thought of competition as a process and of monopoly as a government grant of privilege. In these areas Smith was ahead of many modern economists. Smith also explained market prices in terms of labor content. Here is Smith’s great error. Labor value theory set economics on the wrong course. Labor value theory served as the basis for Marxism. This, of course, indicates the great influence of The Wealth of Nations on world history. Without labor value theory the Marxist idea of exploitation falls apart. Smith therefore played a posthumous role in twentieth century history, especially from 1918 to 1991. Of course, we cannot blame Smith for the misuse of his ideas. Smith would have surely opposed Marxism, had he been alive to do so.


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