Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Book That Changed the World

Adam Smith's book "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the The Weath of Nations" was published 231 years ago yesterday (March 9, 1776). What were its main contributions? A good summary is presented by the Adam Smith Insititue blog:

1. It pinpointed specialization and trade as the basis of economic efficiency and growth.

2. It explained the importance of capital accumulation for future income – and the need to conserve and manage capital, and to secure it from the ravages of prodigals, thieves and governments.

3. It showed how competition provided the best deal for customers by keeping prices down and quality up.

4. It demonstrated how the price system automatically pulled resources to their best use.

5. It railed against high and arbitrary taxation.

6. It exposed the counterproductive nature of government interventions in markets and trade.

Bottom Line: "It not only changed our thinking. It changed the world."

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