Adam Smith: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

(1649 words)
  • David Williams (University of Sheffield)

Adam Smith's reputation and authority as an economic theorist rest upon his celebrated, and still controversial, treatise on the nature of political economy. Smith saw political economy as a component part of moral philosophy, and the links between the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments have received close attention from modern commentators. The 1759 Theory of Moral Sentiments (q.v.) contains analyses of virtue and moral judgement, in the form of the doctrines of sympathy and of the “impartial oberserver”, which illuminate the ways in which economic forces interact with the social and moral worlds. The view of human relationships and motivations that Smith elaborated in the Theory r…

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Williams, David. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 November 2002
[, accessed 28 November 2015.]