Bust of Adam Smith ..................................


About the Author

Adam Smith was born in Kirkaldy, Scotland on June 5, 1723. He was the only child of the marriage of his biological mother and father. Adam Smith's father died a few months before Adam Smith's birth.

From 1737 until 1740, he attended the university of Glasgow. Thereafter, he went to Baliol college, Oxford, as an exhibitioner on Snell’s foundation.

Seven years later, he returned to Kirkaldy, and lived with his mother for two years.

In 1751, he was elected Professor of Logic in the University of Glasgow. The following year, he was removed to the Professorship of Moral Philosophy in the same University. That remained his position for thirteen years.

In 1763 he withdrew from his posts at the University of Glasgow to take on the highly lucrative role of private tutor to Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, whom he was to accompany on an eighteen month "Grand Tour" on the continent of Europe.

Smith thereafter returned to, and remained for a time, in London. He there met Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson and others. He was also made a member of the Royal Society.

He subsequently returned to his mother in Kirkcaldy, where he continued to study and write. In 1776, his "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" was published.

Smith was named lord rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1777, and was appointed commissioner of customs in Scotland one year later.

Smith died at Edinburgh on July 17, 1790, and was buried in the Canongate churchyard.


About the Book

When The Wealth of Nations was published, the importance of free trade and competition to innovation and progress was not well understood. Government-imposed monopolies and guilds, combined with restrictive laws, effected protectionism and stifled improvements in the quality of life. The use of some labour-saving machinery was actually outlawed to protect the jobs made obsolete by the machinery.

Drawing on examples from around the world, Adam Smith's book demonstrated that free markets and competition actually reduce poverty and generally improve the standard of living. The Wealth of Nations provided the intellectual underpinnings for the following century of free trade and economic expansion.

Rightly hailed as a monumental intellectual achievement, The Wealth of Nations continues to provide economic firepower to the advocates of capitalism and free trade. Indeed, the Fraser Institute, in Canada, thanks its guest speakers by presenting them with an Adam Smith tie. Read the Wealth of Nations, and find out why.