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- KurzbeschreibungOriginally delivered in the form of lectures at Glasgow, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations Books I-III laid the foundations of economic theory in general and 'classical' economics in particular, and this Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Andrew Skinner.
The publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776 coincided with America's Declaration of Independence, and with this landmark treatise on political economy, Adam Smith paved the way for modern capitalism, arguing that a truly free market - fired by competition yet guided as if by an 'invisible hand' to ensure justice and equality - was the engine of a fair and productive society. Books I - III of The Wealth of Nations examine the 'division of labour' as the key to economic growth, by ensuring the interdependence of individuals within society. They also cover the origins of money and the importance of wages, profit, rent and stocks; but the real sophistication of his analysis derives from the fact that it encompasses a combination of ethics, philosophy and history to create a vast panorama of society.
This edition contains an analytical introduction offering an in-depth discussion of Smith as an economist and social scientist, as well as a preface, further reading and explanatory notes.
Adam Smith (1723-90) was born in Glasgow and educated at Glasgow and Oxford. Two years after his return to Scotland, Smith moved to Edinburgh, where he delivered lectures on Rhetoric. In 1751 Smith was appointed Professor of Logic at Glasgow, but was translated to chair of Moral Philosophy in 1752. The Theory of Moral Sentiments was published in 1759, and The Wealth of Nations in 1776, the same year as the Declaration of Independence.
If you enjoyed The Wealth of Nations , you might like Karl Marx's Capital , also available in Penguin Classics.
- AutorAdam Smith
- VerlagPenguin Books Ltd
- Seiten576 Seiten
- Gewicht400 g
- LeseprobemoFrom the introduction by Robert Reich
Adam Smith's ideas fit perfectly with this new democratic, individualistic idea. To him, the "wealth" of a nation wasn't determined by the size of its monarch's treasure or the amount of gold and silver in its vaults, nor by the spiritual worthiness of its people in the eyes of the Church. A nation's wealth was to be judged by the total value of all the goods its people produced for all its people to consume. To a reader at the start of the twenty-first century, this assertion may seem obvious. At the time he argued it, it was a revolutionary democratic vision.
Smith was born in 1723, in the small Scottish port of Kirkcaldy, which sits across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh. His father was a collector of customs-a job that literally embodied the old mercantilist philosophy that Smith would later argue against. He was educated at the University of Glasgow, whose professors passionately debated the new concepts of individualism and ethics (one of his teachers, Francis Hutcheson, was prosecuted by the Scottish Presbyterian church for spreading the "false and dangerous" doctrines that moral goodness could be obtained by promoting happiness in others and that it was possible to know good and evil without knowing God), and then at Oxford, whose professors didn't debate or teach much of anything. In fact, the lassitude of Oxford's dons prompted Smith to suggest, in The Wealth of Nations, that professors be paid according to the number of students they attract, thereby motivating them to take a more lively interest in teaching-one of Smith's few suggestions with which today's tenured professors of economics generally disagree.
In 1748 Smith returned to the University of Glasgow, first as a professor of logic and then of moral philosophy, filling Francis Hutcheson's chair. There he published The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, which brought him instant fame. In it, Smith asked how a normal self-interested person is capable of making moral judgments, when the essence of morality is selflessness. It was a question that troubled many of the new thinkers of the eighteenth century, who had liberated themselves from both theology and codes of aristocratic or chilvaric virtue. Smith's answer foreshadowed Sigmund Freud's superego: People possess within themselves an "impartial spectator" who advises them about moral behavior.
Smith resigned his professorship in 1764 to become tutor to the son of the late Duke of Buccleuch
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