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Book Review: Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

5 pages
1117 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Book review
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Adam Smiths Wealth of Nations examines the socioeconomic institutions and the impacts of the revolutionized economy. Smith emphasizes on the high-minded work of philosophical concepts while exploring the common and simple economic facts such as production, wages, exchange, labor force, value, government policies, and the impacts of human interactions. Due to Smiths careful articulation and detailed explanation of the book makes it easy and enjoyable for the reader to grasp. Further, the socioeconomic ideals that Smith has tackled in his text are obvious and yet they are scarcely ignored by an observant reader. This review critiques the text The Wealth of Nations authored by Adam Smith and its effectiveness to the reader.

The text The Wealth of Nations articulates the revolutionized economic concepts and theory, improvement in the productive power of labor, the significance of natural talents, and effects of material exchange of labor. His articulation of the economic concepts offers the readers with a unique interpretation of different economic principles and ideals. Smith starts his text with a statement that explains the significance of the productive power of labor in the division of labor. The author provides three reasons that he believes are associated with increased productivity. The three reasons include the specialized knowledge that is created through interaction among employees. As a result of this interaction, they are able to engage in the trade tasks that make them productive. Secondly, another reason that can lead to an increment of productivity is the time-saving aspects while focusing on a single task at a time. The employees are able to save time which translates to increased productivity. Lastly, Smith has also discussed the impacts of technology as another reason that is associated with an increase in productivity.

Smith, through what seems to be a childlike focus on minutia, is able to describe the economic concepts. Smiths comparative description and illustrations with examples of economic concepts show the relationship between different economic elements such as land, wages, rents, and profits. Smith offers a unique interpretation of these concepts through his philosophical arguments of the common economic concepts. Smiths ideas regarding the socioeconomic systems have great influence in the todays institutions. I his observation of the relationship between business and trade, Smith explains that wealth of a country consists, not of its gold and silver only, but also the other aspects such as land, houses, and the consumable good of different kinds (Smith, 1937, p. 308). Smith delivers all the content and tone of the book as observations of the things that he saw and experienced. According to Fleischacker (2004), Smiths thinking and perception regarding the socioeconomic have significantly influenced the development of the gifted and talented individuals in the organizations.

Additionally, Smiths ideals promote economic freedom through the descriptions of the free-market operations which has largely been influenced by the government policy frameworks. According to Smith (1937), economic freedom would help people to pursue their personal desires and interests. The illustrations and detailed articulation of the economic concepts allow the reader to easily follow the socioeconomic systems in the modern society. The author states what many people take for granted, effectiveness in the division of labor. Through his lens of description, many economic concepts come out clear not only because Smith has highlighted them out but because of the universal reputation and acceptance of his works. This is what he does in the text Wealth of Nations as he points out the universal economic concepts that have become widely accepted in the business world.

Smith supplies an in-depth analysis of different aspects of entrepreneurial benefits of capitalism. Smith examines the importance of morality, ethics, and government intervention in the economy. Smith argues that empathy is also critical and significant in the socioeconomic systems because it is essential in creating a free-market system that is highly stratified by wealth. Smith believes that no society can be prosperous and happy when the greater part of the members is poor or miserable. Smith goes deeper than the other economists to describe the significance of unfettered capitalism in which he claims that one must have self-love to perform or operate in a free-market.

Wealth of Nations is a series of significant concepts and ideas in the socioeconomic systems that make the text correlate better with the world economic affairs such as the impact of poverty, human interaction, and the free-market system. The authors use of the vivid and child-like description of Euclidian logic views helps the readers grasp the view of economic realm. Smith spins examples to depict the worlds aspect and the relationship between different economic factors like land, wages, rents, stocks, and profits. Smith further explains that even though self-love may be important in a free-market but the self-centered pursuit of power may be detrimental to an economy and society at large. As a result, the author suggests a solution that the government needs to intervene to control trifling consequences that may arise from the self-centered pursuit of power and materialistic gains. Smiths suggestion is not only satisfactory but also necessary in a contemporary society to ensure fair play in socioeconomic systems. However, there are other alternatives that may still be available to pursue in order to ensure a fair play in the socioeconomic systems. For instance, instead of focusing on controls as Smith suggests it would be better for the government to emphasize more on the equality in the society. The government can design strategies or programs that allow the country to raise better standards of living for all its citizens.

Even though Smith lived in a period that was characterized by prejudice and other socioeconomic injustices that highly influenced his perceptions and beliefs in the economic life, but I was able to resonate and relate well with his ideas and concepts. I conquer with the authors understanding of the role of economic equality as a powerful force that would ensure social equality in the broke areas of racial, gender, nationalistic, and social disparities. Further, I liked the authors enthusiasm for the economic life and the socioeconomic equality as explained throughout the book.

Wealth of Nations is a literally huge book but getting a few hours to read this text will be worth. Generally, the book is undoubtedly astounding in keeping account of different aspects of socioeconomic systems. I would recommend this text for economics students who may want to expand their views on economic life. Therefore, I cannot recommend the book enough, but I can just say that if one has some few hours to spare to read it will be the best reading experience.



Fleischacker, S. (2004). On Adam Smiths Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Smith, A. (1937). The wealth of nations [1776].Modern Library.


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