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The Wealth of Nations [Mass Market Paperback]

Adam Smith , Alan B. Krueger
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 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 + Das Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy + The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money
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Review

"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
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watch Out! June 19 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have no criticism with Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." My criticism is with the Great Minds Series edition of the book. The Great Minds Series is an abridged version. Huge chunks have been edited out of the book, yet nowhere do they let you know this before making the purchase. I bought this book specifically because I wanted to cite it, and I can't because the parts I wanted to quote have been edited out.
Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" is a worthy book for any private library, but purchase an edition other than the one offered by the so-called "Great Minds Series."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where did that description come from? Dec 2 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Talk about revisionist history! Adam Smith deeply suspicious of capitalism--a closet socialist? I don't think so!
Smith argues that even the darker impulses of the human mind generate benefit in a free society. If you want to get rich in a free society, the only way to do it is to come up with something incredibly useful to humankind.
Smith wasn't distrustful of capitalism--he was distrustful of statism and merchantalism, of government handouts and bureaucrats who know best. That was the order of the day in Smith's time. The government regulations for the French textile industry between 1666 and 1730 took up 2,000 pages.
*That's* what Smith was distrustful of, not capitalism!
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
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 other reviewers have written, better than I would do so, i should add four key points:
- With no proper political institutions there is no possibility of creating wealth (it reminds me sad examples from today...Argentina?). Smith thinks it is very important having economic liberties, besides independent magistrates, and a national state committed to enforce the contracts privates sign up to make transactions when some party doesn't want to comply them.
- Under the right framework of political institutions is posible to have private interests and public interest converging on the same "bargain zone". Under Smith's point of view is the mercantilism, as a policy of state, policy that picks up the winners since the desk of politicians instead of from the shops of every-day industry and parsimony of workers and entrepreuners what creates the conflict (even though he makes some exceptions, like the Navigation Act, but he regards the need of this monopoly of english navy by national security reasons only).
- After the short-run adjustments, the income distribution matters, that are so important for politicians, should be resolved by the market and the entrepreuners whom, by searching opportunities to make more profits, will make converging the prices of land, labour and goods.
- The accumulation of capital is the process that lowers interest rates, expands the supply of loans and suports higher degrees of division of labour in the economy. This process should let people have cheaper goods along the time and improve the wages of workers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Great Minds Series version has parts missing! Sept. 26 1999
Format:Paperback
I was origionally reading the text version of this book on the internet until the printed version came. I was downtroden, sickened, and even frightened to find that the Great Minds Series version of The Wealth of Nations is incomplete, yet gives no indication whatsoever of being so.
The introduction and chapters 2, 3, and 4 of book 3 are simply not there. They are not even listed in the table of contents. There is no discrepency in the page numbers, or any other teletale indication that it is incomplete. It is not written anywhere that it is an abrigement.
I want to point out how careless it is and how misleading to the reader in comprehending the philosophy of Adam Smith to print an incomplete book without any warning.
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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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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
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read the original - get beyond second-hand truisms
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Immortal Prequel to Marx's 'Capital'
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