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The Wealth of Nations [Mass Market Paperback]

Adam Smith , Alan B. Krueger
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 4 2003
The Wealth of Nations
by Adam Smith

It is symbolic that Adam Smith’s masterpiece of economic analysis, The Wealth of Nations, was first published in 1776, the same year as the Declaration of Independence.

In his book, Smith fervently extolled the simple yet enlightened notion that individuals are fully capable of setting and regulating prices for their own goods and services. He argued passionately in favor of free trade, yet stood up for the little guy. The Wealth of Nations provided the first--and still the most eloquent--integrated description of the workings of a market economy.

The result of Smith’s efforts is a witty, highly readable work of genius filled with prescient theories that form the basis of a thriving capitalist system. This unabridged edition offers the modern reader a fresh look at a timeless and seminal work that revolutionized the way governments and individuals view the creation and dispersion of wealth--and that continues to influence our economy right up to the present day.

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The Wealth of Nations + The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money + Das Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy
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"Adam Smith's enormous authority resides, in the end, in the same property that we discover in Marx: not in any ideology, but in an effort to see to the bottom of things."
--Robert L. Heilbroner


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Adam Smith's enormous authority resides, in the end, in the same property that we discover in Marx: not in any ideology, but in an effort to see to the bottom of things."
--Robert L. Heilbroner


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning ! - abridged edition Oct. 18 2007
Format:Hardcover
Just a warning that I purchased this edition and had to return it. Only at the end of the introduction do we learn that it is not nearly complete (e.g. Book V has been omitted). Nowhere on the cover does it indicate that it is abridged. I find this misleading bordering on deceitful. I have since purchased the full version at a used book store. It is available from Amazon in Penguin paperback in 2 volumes. The work itself is great and worth the effort.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missing Part Sept. 15 2012
By Student
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Do not buy this version of the book!

Completely ridiculous that the last part is omitted. When even the person paid to write your introduction for you indicates that "The publishers of the present Everyman edition decided, with regret, that it was preferable to limit the work to a single volume at a cheaper price, and so Book V has been omitted.", maybe the publisher should take note of what is WRITTEN IN HIS OWN BOOK and publish the missing part. This is possibly the worst business decision I have ever seen, what part of the theory of Adam Smith did they not understand to "save costs" by publishing an incomplete version?
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Format:Hardcover
The simple points upon which this book is based might be much easier to understand today than when it was written, because a large part of the growth of the world economy has been based on the ideas about the growth of capital which this book assumed as the fundamental surplus value of economic activity. Less than a century later, Karl Marx was able to demonstrate, in his book, THE POVERTY OF PHILOSOPHY, how vacuous the ideas of good and bad, as they are usually applied in political economy, turn out to be in practice. Americans have largely accepted the notion of a consumer society totally dependent on copyright and trade laws to protect the value of the entertainment and related therapeutic products which it produces. What might be most upsetting to readers of this book, that someone like myself could use it to reflect on the events of 9/11/2001 as a challenge to such modern assumptions, as if the policing powers which maintain the world financial situation of today have more to fear from an examination of how this book treats consumption than from the usual lessons based on the growth of wealth, might make this an unacceptable view of what this book actually says.
When this book was written, Adam Smith was able to combine economic ideas about the distribution and production (which he considered the highest good) of articles of commerce, in contrast to "the bad effects of the monopoly," in a way that caused thinking people in Britain to believe that the world would be materially better off if the American colonies were free of rules which required those who produced all the tobacco from Maryland and Virginia to sell it in or through Great Britain.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wealth is the product of labor June 23 2004
Format:Hardcover
I appreciate that for most readers, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations is going to be a deadly dull read, although I think this is a pity. With a little discipline, I think that the erudite reader will take away many enriching (yes, pun intended) lessons from Smith's ground breaking treatise. For me, as a business professional and business student (I have an MBA), the Wealth of Nations was a Damascus Road experience.
I think there are several myths about economics that are exploded by a first hand reading of Wealth of Nations. Many supply side economists eagerly tout Smith's "invisible hand" metaphor in advocating deregulated markets, but in my view, Smith took a balanced and integrated approach in analyzing the supply and demand sides of national economy. In the first chapter Smith notes that national wealth is the production of labor. This has dual implications in that production is the creation of supply, but the labor force consumes that supply by trading the resulting wealth. These are two sides to the same coin, & therefore indivisible. Also in the first chapter, Smith notes that increasingly sophisticated economies will employ a division of labor to increase production efficiency, which is another concept that necessarily integrates supply and demand, production and consumption.
Smith devotes quite a bit of time lamenting governmental intrusion into economics by way of regulation. However, he does not condemn government regulation per se, but make very specific criticisms against those state regulatory polices that tend to create monopolies. None of his comments are strictly political in nature. Smith's analysis is purely based on economics & the efficient allocation of capital.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still an amazing accomplishment Jan. 18 2004
Format:Paperback
I really wonder how many people have ever read this book--especially those who deal with economic issues (say Congress or the President). Of course, some of the ideas have become dated because the world of 2004 isn't the world of 1776. However, what's amazing is what has held. So much of this book is still basic economic theory. Plus, its not as if Smith had predecessors who he could follow. Smith is one of those people who will still be remember in 2500 or 3000 and deservedly so.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs Revision
Needs to be revised and the title changed to "The Wealth Of Global Corporations", hence 4 stars instead of 5. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2004 by Areader
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Adam Smith is considered a founding father of economic theory.
In the Wealth of Nations, he laid a foundation for the free market while at the same time explaining some of the... Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of Economics
To be an economist without having read "The Wealth of Nations" is like being a priest without having read the Bible. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2003 by N. Tsafos
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the original - get beyond second-hand truisms
Some books have entered so deeply into our culture that they affect the way we think whether or not we have read them. The Wealth of Nations is certainly one of these books. Read more
Published on July 4 2003 by Jonathan W. Robie
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic of Economics
This book is the seed of modern understandings of economics and therefore the key to unlocking the uncertainties of 18th century economic life to the degree that the world has... Read more
Published on May 17 2003 by "rolihlahla82"
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tao of Economics
This is one of the truly great books produced by the Western world. Although much has been written on economics since, it considerably broadened my perspective to read it in the... Read more
Published on May 14 2003 by Margaret Magnus
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book of economic development - the first one!
For a third world citizen, like me, this book seems to be written a couple years ago. Their topics are present in the political agenda of our governments right today, and after all... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2003 by emanriqu
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal book in Economics
The Scottish Adam Smith is certainly the most important economists of all times and is the founder of modern economic thought, being "The Wealth of the Nations" his major... Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2003 by Roberto P. De Ferraz
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