2010-02-25 15:44:30 UTC
Palindromes as a form of wordplay have been created for many
centuries. For example, the ancient Greeks are known to have often
inscribed the following onto their fountains:
Nipson anomemata me monan opsin.
It translates as wash the sin as well as the face. Sharp-eyed readers
will notice that the above it not actually a palindrome. This is
because we have written it using letters of the English alphabet; when
Greek characters are used it is a palindrome because ps is a single
letter in Greek (Y).
The Romans were also admirers of palindromes, and produced such
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.
It means we enter the circle after dark and are consumed by fire and
is said to describe the movement of moths.
List of Palindromes
Our Top 30 Best Palindrome List:
Dogma: I am God
Never odd or even
Too bad – I hid a boot
Rats live on no evil star
No trace; not one carton
Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?
Murder for a jar of red rum
May a moody baby doom a yam?
Go hang a salami; I'm a lasagna hog!
Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas!
A Toyota! Race fast... safe car: a Toyota
Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts
Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
Doc Note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod
No, it never propagates if I set a gap or prevention
Anne, I vote more cars race Rome to Vienna
Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus
Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak
Some men interpret nine memos
Campus Motto: Bottoms up, Mac
Go deliver a dare, vile dog!
Madam, in Eden I'm Adam
Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo
Ah, Satan sees Natasha
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Do geese see God?
God saw I was dog
This article is about the Scottish moral philosopher. For other
persons of the same name, see Adam Smith (disambiguation).
Full name Adam Smith
Born 16 June 1723
(OS: 5 June 1723)
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland
Died 17 July 1790 (aged 67)
Adam Smith (baptised 16 June 1723 – 17 July 1790 [OS: 5 June 1723 – 17
July 1790]) was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of
political economics. One of the key figures of the Scottish
Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments
and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is
considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics.
Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics.
Smith studied moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow and Oxford
University. After graduating, he delivered a successful series of
public lectures at Edinburgh, leading him to collaborate with David
Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith obtained a professorship
at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time he wrote
and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life, he
took a tutoring position that allowed him to travel throughout Europe,
where he met other intellectual leaders of his day. Smith returned
home and spent the next ten years writing The Wealth of Nations,
publishing it in 1776. He died in 1790.
Smith was born to Margaret Douglas at Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. His
father, also named Adam Smith, was a lawyer, civil servant, and
widower who married Margaret Douglas in 1720 and died six months
before Smith was born. Although the exact date of Smith's birth is
unknown, his baptism was recorded on 16 June 1723 at Kirkcaldy.
Though few events in Smith's early childhood are known, Scottish
journalist and Smith's biographer John Rae recorded that the man was
abducted by gypsies at the age of four and eventually released when
others went to rescue him.[N 1] Smith was close to his mother, who
likely encouraged him to pursue his scholarly ambitions. He
attended the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy—characterised by Rae as "one of
the best secondary schools of Scotland at that period"—from 1729 to
1737. While there, he studied Latin, mathematics, history, and
A commemorative plaque for Smith is located at Smith's home town of
Smith entered the University of Glasgow when he was fourteen and
studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson. Here he developed
his passion for liberty, reason, and free speech. In 1740, Smith was
awarded the Snell exhibition and left the University of Glasgow to
attend Balliol College, Oxford.
Smith considered the teaching at Glasgow to be far superior to that at
Oxford, and found his experience at the latter to be intellectually
stifling. In Book V, Chapter II of The Wealth of Nations, Smith
wrote: "In the University of Oxford, the greater part of the public
professors have, for these many years, given up altogether even the
pretence of teaching." Smith is also reported to have complained to
friends that Oxford officials once discovered him reading a copy of
David Hume's Treatise on Human Nature, and they subsequently
confiscated his book and punished him severely for reading it.
 According to William Robert Scott, "The Oxford of [Smith's] time
gave little if any help towards what was to be his lifework."
Nevertheless, Smith took the opportunity while at Oxford to teach
himself several subjects by reading many books from the shelves of the
large Oxford library. When Smith was not studying on his own, his
time at Oxford was not a happy one, according to his letters. Near
the end of his time at Oxford, Smith began suffering from shaking
fits, probably the symptoms of a nervous breakdown. He left Oxford
University in 1746, before his scholarship ended.
In Book V of The Wealth of Nations, Smith comments on the low quality
of instruction and the meager intellectual activity at English
universities, when compared to their Scottish counterparts. He
attributes this both to the rich endowments of the colleges at Oxford
and Cambridge, which made the income of professors independent of
their ability to attract students, and to the fact that distinguished
men of letters could make an even more comfortable living as ministers
of the Church of England. Smith had originally intended to study
theology and enter the clergy, but his subsequent learning, especially
from the skeptical writings of David Hume, persuaded him to take a
Smith began delivering public lectures in 1748 at Edinburgh under the
patronage of Lord Kames. His lecture topics included rhetoric and
belles-lettres, and later the subject of "the progress of opulence".
On this latter topic he first expounded his economic philosophy of
"the obvious and simple system of natural liberty". While Smith was
not adept at public speaking, his lectures met with success.
David Hume was a friend and contemporary of Smith.In 1750, he met the
philosopher David Hume, who was his senior by more than a decade. The
alignments of opinion that can be found within their writings covering
history, politics, philosophy, economics, and religion indicate that
they shared a closer intellectual alliance and friendship than with
the others who were to play important roles during the emergence of
what has come to be known as the Scottish Enlightenment.
In 1751, Smith earned a professorship at Glasgow University teaching
logic courses. When the Chair of Moral Philosophy died the next year,
Smith took over the position. He would continue academic
production for the next thirteen years, which he characterized as "by
far the most useful and therefore by far the happiest and most
honourable period [of his life]".
Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, embodying some
of his Glasgow lectures. This work was concerned with how human
morality depends on sympathy between agent and spectator, or the
individual and other members of society. He bases his explanation not
on a special "moral sense", as the third Lord Shaftesbury and
Hutcheson had done, nor on utility as Hume did, but on sympathy.
Smith's popularity greatly increased due to the The Theory of Moral
Sentiments, and as a result, many wealthy students left their schools
in other countries to enroll at Glasgow to learn under Smith.
After the publication of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith began
to give more attention to jurisprudence and economics in his lectures
and less to his theories of morals. The development of his ideas on
political economy can be observed from the lecture notes taken down by
a student in 1763, and from what William Robert Scott described as an
early version of part of The Wealth of Nations. For example, Smith
lectured that labor—rather than the nation's quantity of gold or silver
—is the cause of increase in national wealth.
François Quesnay, one of the leaders of the Physiocratic school of
thoughtIn 1762, the academic senate of the University of Glasgow
conferred on Smith the title of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.). At the end of
1763, he obtained a lucrative offer from Charles Townshend (who had
been introduced to Smith by David Hume) to tutor his stepson, Henry
Scott, the young Duke of Buccleuch. Smith subsequently resigned from
his professorship to take the tutoring position. Because he resigned
in the middle of the term, Smith attempted to return the fees he had
collected from his students, but they refused.
Tutoring and travels
Smith's tutoring job entailed touring Europe with Henry Scott while
teaching him subjects including proper Polish. Smith was paid £300
per year plus expenses along with £300 per year pension, which was
roughly twice his former income as a teacher. Smith first traveled
as a tutor to Toulouse, France, where he stayed for a year and a half.
 According to accounts, Smith found Toulouse to be very boring,
and he wrote to Hume that he "had begun to write a book in order to
pass away the time". After touring the south of France, the group
moved to Geneva. While in Geneva, Smith met with the philosopher
After staying in Geneva, the party went to Paris, where Smith came to
know intellectual leaders such as Benjamin Franklin, Turgot, Jean
D'Alembert, André Morellet, Helvétius and, in particular, Francois
Quesnay, the head of the Physiocratic school, whose academic products
he respected greatly. The physiocrats believed that wealth came
from production and not from the attainment of precious metals, which
was adverse to mercantilist thought. They also believed that
agriculture tended to produce wealth and that merchants and
manufacturers did not. While Smith did not embrace all of the
physiocrats' ideas, he did say that physiocracy was "with all its
imperfections [perhaps] the nearest approximation to the truth that
has yet been published upon the subject of political economy".
In 1766, Henry Scott's younger brother died in Paris, and Smith's tour
as a tutor ended shortly thereafter. Smith returned home that year
to Kirkcaldy, and he devoted much of the next ten years to his magnum
opus. There he befriended Henry Moyes, a young blind man who
showed precocious aptitude. As well as teaching Moyes himself, Smith
secured the patronage of David Hume and Thomas Reid in the young man's
education. In May 1773, Smith was elected fellow of the Royal
Society of London, and was elected a member of the Literary Club
in 1775. The Wealth of Nations was published in 1776 and was an
instant success, selling out the first edition in only six months.
In 1778, Smith was appointed to a post as commissioner of customs in
Scotland and went to live with his mother in Panmure House in
Edinburgh's Canongate. Five years later, he became one of the
founding members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and from 1787
to 1789 he occupied the honorary position of Lord Rector of the
University of Glasgow. He died in the northern wing of Panmure
House in Edinburgh on 17 July 1790 after a painful illness and was
buried in the Canongate Kirkyard. On his death bed, Smith
expressed disappointment that he had not achieved more.
Smith's literary executors were two friends from the Scottish academic
world: the physicist and chemist Joseph Black, and the pioneering
geologist James Hutton. Smith left behind many notes and some
unpublished material, but gave instructions to destroy anything that
was not fit for publication. He mentioned an early unpublished
History of Astronomy as probably suitable, and it duly appeared in
1795, along with other material such as Essays on Philosophical
Personality and beliefs
James Tassie's enamel paste medallion of Smith provided the model for
many engravings and portraits which remain today.Not much is known
about Smith's personal views beyond what can be deduced from his
published articles. His personal papers were destroyed after his
death, at his own request. He never married and seems to have
maintained a close relationship with his mother, with whom he lived
after his return from France and who died six years before his own
Contemporary accounts describe Smith as an eccentric but benevolent
intellectual, comically absent minded, with peculiar habits of speech
and gait and a smile of "inexpressible benignity". He was known to
talk to himself, and had occasional spells of imaginary illness.
Smith is often described as a prototypical absent-minded professor.
 He is reported to have had books and papers stacked up in his
study, with a habit he developed during childhood of speaking to
himself and smiling in rapt conversation with invisible companions.
Various anecdotes have discussed his absentminded nature. In one
story, Smith took Charles Townshend on a tour of a tanning factory and
while discussing free trade, Smith walked into a huge tanning pit from
which he had to be removed. Another episode records that he put
bread and butter into a teapot, drank the concoction, and declared it
to be the worst cup of tea he ever had. In another example, Smith went
out walking and daydreaming in his nightgown and ended up 15 miles (24
km) outside town before nearby church bells brought him back to
Portrait of Smith by John Kay, 1790Smith is reported to have been an
odd-looking fellow. One author stated that Smith "had a large nose,
bulging eyes, a protruding lower lip, a nervous twitch, and a speech
impediment". Smith is reported to have acknowledged his looks at
one point saying, "I am a beau in nothing but my books." Smith
"never" sat for portraits , so depictions of him created during
his lifetime were drawn from memory, with rare exceptions. The most
famous examples were a profile by James Tassie and two etchings by
John Kay. The line engravings produced for the covers of 19th
century reprints of The Wealth of Nations were based largely on
There has been considerable scholarly debate about the nature of
Smith's religious views. Smith's father had a strong interest in
Christianity and belonged to the moderate wing of the Church of
Scotland. In addition to the fact that he received the Snell
Exhibition, Smith may have also moved to England with the intention of
pursuing a career in the Church of England. At Oxford, Smith rejected
Christianity and it is generally believed that he returned to Scotland
as a deist.
Economist Ronald Coase has challenged the view that Smith was a deist,
 stating that while Smith may have referred to the "Great
Architect of the Universe", other scholars have "very much exaggerated
the extent to which Adam Smith was committed to a belief in a personal
God". He based this on analysis of a remark in The Wealth of
Nations where Smith writes that the curiosity of mankind about the
"great phenomena of nature" such as "the generation, the life, growth
and dissolution of plants and animals" has led men to "enquire into
their causes". Coase notes Smith's observation that "[s]uperstition
first attempted to satisfy this curiosity, by referring all those
wonderful appearances to the immediate agency of the gods". Smith's
distant friend and colleague David Hume, with whom he agreed on most
matters, was described by contemporaries as an atheist, although there
is some debate about the exact nature of his views among modern
In a letter to William Strahan, Smith's account of Hume's courage and
tranquility in the face of death aroused violent public controversy,
 since it contradicted the assumption, widespread among orthodox
believers, that an untroubled death was impossible without the
consolation of religious belief.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Main article: The Theory of Moral Sentiments
In 1759, Smith published his first work, The Theory of Moral
Sentiments. He continued to revise the work throughout his life,
making extensive revisions to the final (6th) edition shortly before
his death in 1790.[N 2] Although The Wealth of Nations is widely
regarded as Smith's most influential work, it has been reported that
Smith himself "always considered his Theory of Moral Sentiments a much
superior work to his Wealth of Nations". P. J. O'Rourke, author of
the commentary On The Wealth of Nations (2007), has agreed, calling
The Theory of Moral Sentiments "the better book". It was in this
work that Smith first referred to the "invisible hand" to describe the
apparent benefits to society of people behaving in their own interests.
In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith critically examined the moral
thinking of the time and suggested that conscience arises from social
relationships. His aim in the work is to explain the source of
mankind's ability to form moral judgements, in spite of man's natural
inclinations toward self-interest. Smith proposes a theory of sympathy
in which the act of observing others makes people aware of themselves
and the morality of their own behavior. Haakonssen writes that in
Smith's theory, "Society is ... the mirror in which one catches sight
of oneself, morally speaking."
Because The Theory of Moral Sentiments emphasizes sympathy for others
while The Wealth of Nations famously emphasizes the role of self
interest, some scholars have perceived a conflict between these works.
As one economic historian observed: "Many writers, including the
present author at an early stage of his study of Smith, have found
these two works in some measure basically inconsistent." In recent
years, however, most scholars of Smith's work have argued that no
contradiction exists. In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith
develops a theory of psychology in which individuals seek the approval
of the "impartial spectator" as a result of a natural desire to have
outside observers sympathize with them. Rather than viewing The Wealth
of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments as presenting
incompatible views of human nature, most Smith scholars regard the
works as emphasizing different aspects of human nature that vary
depending on the situation. The Wealth of Nations draws on situations
where man's morality is likely to play a smaller role—such as the
laborer involved in pin-making—whereas The Theory of Moral Sentiments
focuses on situations where man's morality is likely to play a
dominant role among more personal exchanges.
The Wealth of Nations
Main article: The Wealth of Nations
The site where Smith wrote The Wealth of NationsAn Inquiry into the
Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations expounds that the free
market, while appearing chaotic and unrestrained, is actually guided
to produce the right amount and variety of goods by a so-called
"invisible hand". Smith opposed any form of economic concentration
because it distorts the market's natural ability to establish a price
that provides a fair return on land, labor, and capital. He advanced
the idea that a market economy would produce a satisfactory outcome
for both buyers and sellers, and would optimally allocate society's
resources. The image of the invisible hand was previously employed
by Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, but it has its original
use in his essay, "The History of Astronomy". Smith believed that when
an individual pursues his self-interest, he indirectly promotes the
good of society: "by pursuing his own interest, [the individual]
frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he
intends to promote it." Self-interested competition in the free
market, he argued, would tend to benefit society as a whole by keeping
prices low, while still building in an incentive for a wide variety of
goods and services. Nevertheless, he was wary of businessmen and
argued against the formation of monopolies.
The first page of The Wealth of Nations, 1776 London editionAn often-
quoted passage from The Wealth of Nations is: "It is not from the
benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect
our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We
address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and
never talk to them of our own necessities but of their
advantages." Value theory was important in classical theory. Smith
wrote that the "real price of every thing ... is the toil and trouble
of acquiring it" as influenced by its scarcity. Smith maintained that,
with rent and profit, other costs besides wages also enter the price
of a commodity. Other classical economists presented variations on
Smith, termed the "labour theory of value". Classical economics
focused on the tendency of markets to move to long-run equilibrium.
Smith's advocacy of self-interest based economic exchange did not,
however, preclude for him issues of fairness and justice. In Asia,
Europeans "by different arts of oppression..have reduced the
population of several of the Moluccas," he wrote, while "the
savage injustice of the Europeans" arriving in America, "rendered an
event, which ought to have been beneficial to all, ruinous and
destructive to several of those unfortunate countries." The Native
Americans, "far from having ever injured the people of Europe, had
received the first adventurers with every mark of kindness and
hospitality." However, "superiority of force" was "so great on the
side of the Europeans, that they were enabled to commit with impunity
every sort of injustice in those remote countries."
Smith also believed that a division of labour would effect a great
increase in production. One example he used was the making of pins.
One worker could probably make only twenty pins per day. However, if
ten people divided up the eighteen steps required to make a pin, they
could make a combined amount of 48,000 pins in one day. However,
Smith's views on division of labour are not unambiguously positive,
and are typically mis-characterized. On labor relations, Smith
noted "severity" of laws against worker actions, and contrasted the
masters' "clamour" against workers associations, with associations and
collusions of the masters which "are never heard by the people" though
such actions are "always" and "everywhere" taking place.
Smith's burial place in Canongate KirkyardShortly before his death,
Smith had nearly all his manuscripts destroyed. In his last years, he
seemed to have been planning two major treatises, one on the theory
and history of law and one on the sciences and arts. The posthumously
published Essays on Philosophical Subjects, a history of astronomy
down to Smith's own era, plus some thoughts on ancient physics and
metaphysics, probably contain parts of what would have been the latter
treatise. Lectures on Jurisprudence were notes taken from Smith's
early lectures, plus an early draft of The Wealth of Nations,
published as part of the 1976 Glasgow Edition of the works and
correspondence of Smith. Other works, including some published
posthumously, include Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms
(1763) (first published in 1896); A Treatise on Public Opulence (1764)
(first published in 1937); and Essays on Philosophical Subjects
A statue of Smith on Edinburgh's Royal Mile built through private
donations and organised by the Adam Smith InstituteThe Wealth of
Nations, one of the earliest attempts to study the rise of industry
and commercial development in Europe, was a precursor to the modern
academic discipline of economics. In this and other works, Smith
expounded how rational self-interest and competition can lead to
economic prosperity and well-being. It also provided one of the best-
known intellectual rationales for free trade and capitalism, greatly
influencing the writings of later economists. Smith is often cited as
the father of modern economics. Smith was controversial in
his own day and his general approach and writing style was often
satirized by Tory writers in the moralizing tradition of Hogarth and
Swift, as a discussion at the University of Winchester suggests.
George Stigler attributes to Smith the central proposition of
mainstream economic theory, namely that an individual will invest a
resource, for example, land or labour, so as to earn the highest
possible return on it. Consequently, all uses of the resource should
yield a risk-adjusted equal rate of return; otherwise resource
reallocation would result.
On the other hand, Joseph Schumpeter dismissed Smith's contributions
as unoriginal, saying "His very limitation made for success. Had he
been more brilliant, he would not have been taken so seriously. Had he
dug more deeply, had he unearthed more recondite truth, had he used
more difficult and ingenious methods, he would not have been
understood. But he had no such ambitions; in fact he disliked whatever
went beyond plain common sense. He never moved above the heads of even
the dullest readers. He led them on gently, encouraging them by
trivialities and homely observations, making them feel comfortable all
along.” (Schumpeter History of Economic Analysis. New York: Oxford
University Press, p 185)
Classical economists presented variations on Smith, termed the "labour
theory of value", later Marxian economics descends from classical
economics also using Smith's labour theories in part. The first volume
of Karl Marx's major work, Capital, was published in German in 1867.
In it, Marx focused on the labour theory of value and what he
considered to be the exploitation of labour by capital. The
labour theory of value held that the value of a thing was determined
by the labor that went into its production. This contrasts with the
modern understanding of mainstream economics, that the value of a
thing is determined by what one is willing to give up to obtain the
thing. Smith is often cited not only as the conceptual builder of free
markets in capitalism but also as a main contributor to communist
theory, via his influence on Marx.
The Adam Smith Theatre in KirkcaldyA body of theory later termed
"neoclassical economics" or "marginalism" formed from about 1870 to
1910. The term "economics" was popularized by such neoclassical
economists as Alfred Marshall as a concise synonym for "economic
science" and a substitute for the earlier, broader term "political
economy" used by Smith. This corresponded to the influence on
the subject of mathematical methods used in the natural sciences.
Neoclassical economics systematized supply and demand as joint
determinants of price and quantity in market equilibrium, affecting
both the allocation of output and the distribution of income. It
dispensed with the labour theory of value of which Smith was most
famously identified with in classical economics, in favour of a
marginal utility theory of value on the demand side and a more general
theory of costs on the supply side.
The bicentennial anniversary of the publication of The Wealth of
Nations was celebrated in 1976, resulting in increased interest for
The Theory of Moral Sentiments and his other works throughout
academia. After 1976, Smith was more likely to be represented as the
author of both The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral
Sentiments, and thereby as the founder of a moral philosophy and the
science of economics. His homo economicus or "economic man" was also
more often represented as a moral person. Additionally, his opposition
to slavery, colonialism, and empire was emphasised, as were his
statements about high wages for the poor, and his views that a common
street porter was not intellectually inferior to a philosopher.
This £20 note was issued by the Bank of England and features Smith.
Portraits, monuments, and banknotes
Smith has been commemorated in the UK on banknotes printed by two
different banks; his portrait has appeared since 1981 on the £50 notes
issued by the Clydesdale Bank in Scotland, and in March 2007
Smith's image also appeared on the new series of £20 notes issued by
the Bank of England, making him the first Scotsman to feature on an
A large-scale memorial of Smith was unveiled on 4 July 2008 in
Edinburgh. It is a 10 feet (3.0 m)-tall bronze sculpture and it stands
above the Royal Mile outside St Giles' Cathedral in Parliament Square,
near the Mercat cross. 20th century sculptor Jim Sanborn (best
known for creating the Kryptos sculpture at the United States Central
Intelligence Agency) has created multiple pieces which feature Smith's
work. At Central Connecticut State University is Circulating Capital,
a tall cylinder which features an extract from The Wealth of Nations
on the lower half, and on the upper half, some of the same text but
represented in binary code. At the University of North Carolina at
Charlotte, outside the Belk College of Business Administration, is
Adam Smith's Spinning Top. Another Smith sculpture is at
Cleveland State University.
As a symbol of free market economics
Adam Smith's Spinning Top, sculpture by American artist Jim Sanborn at
Cleveland State UniversitySmith has been celebrated by advocates of
free market policies as the founder of free market economics, a view
reflected in the naming of bodies such as the Adam Smith Institute,
Adam Smith Society and the Australian Adam Smith Club, and in
terms such as the Adam Smith necktie.
Alan Greenspan argues that, while Smith did not coin the term laissez-
faire, "it was left to Adam Smith to identify the more-general set of
principles that brought conceptual clarity to the seeming chaos of
market transactions". Greenspan continues that The Wealth of Nations
was "one of the great achievements in human intellectual history".
P. J. O'Rourke describes Smith as the "founder of free market
However, other writers have argued that Smith's support for laissez-
faire (which in French means leave alone) has been overstated. Herbert
Stein wrote that the people who "wear an Adam Smith necktie" do it to
"make a statement of their devotion to the idea of free markets and
limited government", and that this misrepresents Smith's ideas. Stein
writes that Smith "was not pure or doctrinaire about this idea. He
viewed government intervention in the market with great skepticism ...
yet he was prepared to accept or propose qualifications to that policy
in the specific cases where he judged that their net effect would be
beneficial and would not undermine the basically free character of the
system. He did not wear the Adam Smith necktie." In Stein's reading,
The Wealth of Nations could justify the Food and Drug Administration,
the Consumer Product Safety Commission, mandatory employer health
benefits, environmentalism, and "discriminatory taxation to deter
improper or luxurious behavior".
Similarly, Vivienne Brown stated in The Economic Journal that in the
20th century United States, Reaganomics supporters, The Wall Street
Journal, and other similar sources have spread among the general
public a partial and misleading vision of Smith, portraying him as an
"extreme dogmatic defender of laissez-faire capitalism and supply-side
economics". In fact, The Wealth of Nations includes the following
statement on the payment of taxes: "The subjects of every state ought
to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as
possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in
proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the
protection of the state."
Smith even specifically named taxes that he thought should be required
by the state among them luxury goods taxes and tax on rent. He
believed that tax laws should be as transparent as possible and that
each individual should pay a "certain amount, and not arbitrary," in
addition to paying this tax at the time "most likely to be convenient
for the contributor to pay it".
Additionally, Smith outlined the proper expenses of the government in
The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Ch. I. Included in his requirements of
a government is to enforce contracts and provide justice system, grant
patents and copy writes, provide public goods such as infrastructure,
provide national defense and regulate banking. It was the role of the
government to provide goods "of such a nature that the profit could
never repay the expense to any individual" such as roads, bridges,
canals, and harbours. He also encouraged invention and new ideas
through his patent enforcement and support of infant industry
monopolies. he supported public education and religious institutions
as providing general benefit to the society. Finally he outlined how
the government should support the dignity of the monarch or chief
magistrate, such that they are equal or above the public in fashion.
He even states that monarchs should be provided for in a greater
fashion than magistrates of a republic because "we naturally expect
more splendor in the court of a king than in the mansion-house of a
doge." In addition, he was in favor of retaliatory tariffs and
believed that they would eventually bring down the price of goods. He
even stated in Wealth of Nations, "The recovery of a great foreign
market will generally more than compensate the transitory
inconvenience of paying dearer during a short time for some sorts of
Noam Chomsky has argued[N 3] that several aspects of Smith's thought
have been misrepresented and falsified by contemporary ideology,
including Smith’s reasons for supporting markets and Smith’s views on
corporations. Chomsky argues that Smith supported markets in the
belief that they would lead to equality, and that Smith opposed wage
labor and corporations. Economic historians such as Jacob Viner
regard Smith as a strong advocate of free markets and limited
government (what Smith called "natural liberty") but not as a dogmatic
supporter of laissez-faire.
Economist Daniel Klein believes using the term "free market economics"
or "free market economist" to identify the ideas of Smith is too
general and slightly misleading. Klein offers six characteristics
central to the identity of Smith's economic thought and argues that a
new name is needed to give a more accurate depiction of the "Smithian"
identity. Economist David Ricardo set straight some of the
misunderstandings about Smith’s thoughts on free market. Most people
still fall victim to the thinking that Smith was a free market
economist without exception, though he was not. Ricardo pointed out
that Smith was in support of helping infant industries. Smith believed
that the government should subsidise newly formed industry, but he did
fear that when the infant industry grew into adulthood it would be
unwilling to surrender the government help. Smith also supported
tariffs on imported goods to counteract an internal tax on the same
good. Smith also fell to pressure in supporting some tariffs in
support for national defense.
↑ In Life of Adam Smith, Rae writes, "In his fourth year, while on a
visit to his grandfather's house at Strathendry on the banks of the
Leven, [Smith] was stolen by a passing band of gypsies, and for a time
could not be found. But presently a gentleman arrived who had met a
gypsy woman a few miles down the road carrying a child that was crying
piteously. Scouts were immediately dispatched in the direction
indicated, and they came upon the woman in Leslie wood. As soon as she
saw them she threw her burden down and escaped, and the child was
brought back to his mother. [Smith] would have made, I fear, a poor
↑ The 6 editions of The Theory of Moral Sentiments were published in
1759, 1761, 1767, 1774, 1781, and 1790 respectively.
↑ See chapters 2, 5, 6, and 10 of his Understanding Power, New Press
(February 2002), along with his Year 501: The Conquest Continues,
primarily chapter 1, South End Press, 1993.
↑ Bussing-Burks 2003, pp. 38–39
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 12
↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Rae 1895, p. 5
↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bussing-Burks 2003, p. 39
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 22
↑ Bussing-Burks 2003, p. 41
↑ Rae 1895, p. 24
↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Buchholz 1999, p. 12
↑ Introductory Economics. New Age Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 8122418309.
↑ Rae 1895, p. 22
↑ Rae 1895, pp. 24–25
↑ 12.0 12.1 Bussing-Burks 2003, p. 42
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 29
↑ Rae 1895, p. 30
↑ 15.0 15.1 Bussing-Burks 2003, p. 43
↑ Winch, Donald (September 2004). "Smith, Adam (bap. 1723, d. 1790)".
Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
↑ Rae 1895, p. 42
↑ 18.0 18.1 Buchholz 1999, p. 15
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 67
↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Buchholz 1999, p. 16
↑ Buchholz 1999, pp. 16–17
↑ 22.0 22.1 Buchholz 1999, p. 17
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 80
↑ 24.0 24.1 Buchholz 1999, p. 18
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 90
↑ Dr James Currie to Thomas Creevey, 24 February 1793, Lpool RO,
Currie MS 920 CUR
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 89
↑ "First Visit to London". Library of Economics and Liberty.
↑ Buchholz 1999, p. 19
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 128
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 133
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 137
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 145
↑ 34.0 34.1 Bussing-Burks 2003, p. 53
↑ 35.0 35.1 Buchan 2006, p. 25
↑ 36.0 36.1 Buchan 2006, p. 88
↑ Bonar 1895, pp. xx–xxiv
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 11
↑ Buchan 2006, p. 134
↑ Rae 1895, p. 262
↑ 41.0 41.1 41.2 Skousen 2001, p. 32
↑ 42.0 42.1 Buchholz 1999, p. 14
↑ Stewart, Dugald (1853). The Works of Adam Smith: With An Account of
His Life and Writings. London: Henry G. Bohn. lxix. OCLC 3226570.
↑ Rae 1895, pp. 376–377
↑ Bonar 1895, p. xxi
↑ Ross 1995, p. 15
↑ [Expression error: Missing operand for > "Times obituary of Adam
Smith"]. The Times. 1790-07-24.
↑ Coase 1976, pp. 529–546
↑ Coase 1976, p. 538
↑ "Hume on Religion". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
↑ "Letter From Adam Smith, LL.D. TO William Strahan, Esq. - Essays
Moral, Political, Literary (LF ed.)". Online Library of Liberty.
↑ Rae 1895, p. 311
↑ "Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 1
The Theory of Moral Sentiments [1759"]. The Online Library of
↑ Rae 1895
↑ O'Rourke, P. J. (2007-01-08). "P.J. O'Rourke Takes On 'The Wealth of
↑ 56.0 56.1 Minowitz, Peter (December 2004). "Adam Smith's Invisible
Hands". Econ Journal Watch 1 (3): 381–412.
↑ Falkner, Robert (1997). "Biography of Smith". Liberal Democrat
↑ Smith 2002, p. xv
↑ Viner 1991, p. 250
↑ "The Betrayal of Adam Smith". The People-Centered Development
http://www.pcdf.org/corprule/betrayal.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
↑ Smith 1977, bk. IV, ch. 2
↑ Smith 1977, p. 18
↑ Smith 1977, bk. 1, ch. 5–6
↑ Smith 1977, bk. IV, ch. 7
↑ Smith 1977, bk. IV, ch. 1
↑ Smith 1977, bk. IV, ch. 7
↑ Smith 1977, bk. V, ch. 1
↑ Smith 1977, bk. I, ch. 8
↑ Pressman, Steven (1999). Fifty Major Economists. Routledge. p. 20.
↑ Hoaas, David J.; Madigan, Lauren J. (1999). [Expression error:
Missing operand for > "A citation analysis of economists in principles
of economics textbooks"]. The Social Science Journal 36 (3): 525–532.
↑ Rae 1895, p. 292
↑ "Adam Smith - Jonathan Swift". University of Winchester.
http://journalism.winchester.ac.uk/?page=343. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
↑ Roemer, J.E. (1987). "Marxian Value Analysis". The New Palgrave: A
Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, 383.
↑ Mandel, Ernest (1987). "Marx, Karl Heinrich", The New Palgrave: A
Dictionary of Economicsv. 3, pp. 372, 376.
↑ Marshall, Alfred; Marshall, Mary Paley (1879). The Economics of
Industry. p. 2.
↑ Jevons, W. Stanley (1879). The Theory of Political Economy (2nd
ed.). p. xiv.
↑ Clark, B. (1998). Political-economy: A comparative approach, 2nd
ed., Westport, CT: Preagerp. p. 32..
↑ Campos, Antonietta (1987). "Marginalist Economics", The New
Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, p. 320
↑ Smith 1977, §Book I, Chapter 2
↑ "Clydesdale 50 Pounds, 1981". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld.
↑ "Current Banknotes : Clydesdale Bank". The Committee of Scottish
↑ "Smith replaces Elgar on £20 note". BBC. 2006-10-29.
↑ Blackley, Michael (2007-09-26). "Adam Smith sculpture to tower over
Royal Mile". Edinburgh Evening News.
↑ Fillo, Maryellen (2001-03-13). "CCSU welcomes a new kid on the
block". The Hartford Courant.
↑ Kelley, Pam (1997-05-20). "Piece at UNCC is a puzzle for Charlotte,
artist says". Charlotte Observer.
↑ Shaw-Eagle, Joanna (1997-06-01). "Artist sheds new light on
sculpture". The Washington Times.
↑ "Adam Smith's Spinning Top". Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory.
Archived from the original on 2005-02-05.
↑ "The Adam Smith Society". The Adam Smith Society. Archived from the
original on 2007-07-21.
http://www.adamsmith.it/presentazione.html. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
↑ "The Australian Adam Smith Club". Adam Smith Club. http://www.adamsmithclub.org/.
↑ Levy, David (June 1992). "Interview with Milton Friedman". Federal
Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
↑ "FRB: Speech, Greenspan—Adam Smith—6 February 2005".
↑ "Adam Smith: Web Junkie - Forbes.com".
↑ Stein, Herbert (1994-04-06). [Expression error: Missing operand for
"Board of Contributors: Remembering Adam Smith"]. The Wall StreetJournal Asia: A14.
↑ Brown, Vivienne; Pack, Spencer J.; Werhane, Patricia H. (January
1993). [Expression error: Missing operand for > "Untitled review of
'Capitalism as a Moral System: Adam Smith's Critique of the Free
Market Economy' and 'Adam Smith and his Legacy for Modern
Capitalism'"]. The Economic Journal 103 (416): 230–232. doi:
↑ Smith 1977, bk. V, ch. 2
↑ Smith 1977, bk. V, ch. 2
↑ Smith 1977, bk. V
↑ Smith 1977, bk. IV, ch. 2
↑ Chomsky 2002, ch. 6
↑ Viner, Jacob; Pack, Spencer J.; Werhane, Patricia H. (April 1927).
[Expression error: Missing operand for > "Adam Smith and Laissez-
faire"]. The Journal of Political Economy 35 (2): 198–232. doi:
↑ Klein, Daniel B. (2008). "Toward a Public and Professional Identity
for Our Economics". Econ Journal Watch 5 (3): 358–372.
↑ Klein, Daniel B. (2009). "Desperately Seeking Smithians: Responses
to the Questionnaire about Building an Identity". Econ Journal Watch 6
↑ 103.0 103.1 Buchholz, Todd (December 1990). pp. 38–39.
Bonar, James (1895). A Catalogue of the Library of Adam Smith. London:
Macmillan. OCLC 2320634. http://books.google.com/books?id=pUmfjlAfM3kC.
Buchan, James (2006). The Authentic Adam Smith: His Life and Ideas. W.
W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393061213.
Buchholz, Todd (1999). New ideas from Dead Economists: An introduction
to modern economic thought. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140283137.
Bussing-Burks, Marie (2003). Influential Economists. Minneapolis: The
Oliver Press. ISBN 1-881508-72-2.
Campbell, R. H.; Skinner, Andrew S. (1985). Adam Smith. Routledge.
Chomsky, Noam (2002). Understanding power: the indispensable Chomsky.
Scribe Publications. ISBN 9780908011728.
Coase, R.H. (October 1976). [Expression error: Missing operand for >
"Adam Smith's View of Man"]. The Journal of Law and Economics 19 (3):
Rae, John (1895). Life of Adam Smith. New York City: Macmillan
Publishers. ISBN 0722226586.
Ross, Ian Simpson (December 14, 1995). The Life of Adam Smith. Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0198288212.
Skousen, Mark (2001). The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and
Ideas of Great Thinkers. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0765604809.
Smith, Adam (1977) . An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of
the Wealth of Nations. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226763749.
Smith, Adam (1982) . The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.D.
Raphael and A.L. Macfie, vol. I of the Glasgow Edition of the Works
and Correspondence of Adam Smith. Liberty Fund. ISBN 0865970122.
Smith, Adam (2002) . Knud Haakonssen. ed. The Theory of Moral
Sentiments. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521598478.
Smith, Vernon L. (July 1998). [Expression error: Missing operand for >
"The Two Faces of Adam Smith"]. Southern Economic Journal 65 (1): 2–
Tribe, Keith; Mizuta, Hiroshi (2002) (Hardcover). A Critical
Bibliography of Adam Smith. Pickering & Chatto. ISBN 9781851967414.
Viner, Jacob (1991). Douglas A. Irvin. ed. Essays on the Intellectual
History of Economics. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University
Press. ISBN 0691042667.
This article incorporates public domain text from the entry Smith,
Adam in: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary
of English Literature. London, J. M. Dent & Sons; New York, E. P.
Butler, Eamonn (March 2007). Adam Smith - A Primer. Institute of
Economic Affairs. ISBN 0255366086. http://www.iea.org.uk/record.jsp?type=book&ID=414.
Copley, Stephen (March 1995). Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations: New
Interdisciplinary Essays. Manchester University Press. ISBN
Glahe, F. (June 1977). Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations: 1776–
1976. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0870810820.
Haakonssen, Knud (2006-03-06). The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521779243.
Hollander, Samuel (June 1973). Economics of Adam Smith. University of
Toronto Press. ISBN 0802063020. http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Adam-Smith-Samuel-Hollander/dp/0802063020.
Iain McLean (2006). Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian: An
Interpretation for the 21st Century. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN
Muller, Jerry Z. (1995-07-03). Adam Smith in His Time and Ours.
Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691001618.
O'Rourke, P. J. (2006-12-04). On The Wealth of Nations. Grove/Atlantic
Inc.. ISBN 0871139499. http://www.amazon.com/Wealth-Nations-Books-Changed-World/dp/0871139499.
Works related to Adam Smith at Wikisource
Quotations related to Adam Smith at Wikiquote
Adam Smith at the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Adam Smith at the Adam Smith Institute
Robert Cunninghame-Grahame of Gartmore Rector of the University of
Walter Campbell of Shawfield
...and I am Sid Harth