top of page

Group

Public·33 members
Charles Watson
Charles Watson

Discover Adam Smith's Amazing Journey from Scotland to Europe and His Revolutionary Ideas in This Free PDF Biography


Adam Smith: The Father of Modern Economics




Introduction




Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and political economist who is widely considered to be the father of modern economics. He wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is regarded as the first comprehensive system of political economy and the foundation of classical free market economic theory.




adam smith biography pdf free



Who was Adam Smith?




Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland in 1723. He was the son of a customs officer and a landowner's daughter. He received his elementary schooling in Kirkcaldy and then attended the University of Glasgow, where he studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson. He later won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied natural theology, ethics, jurisprudence, and political economy. He left Oxford in 1746 without taking a degree.


What did he write?




Adam Smith wrote two major works that established his reputation as a leading thinker of the Scottish Enlightenment. The first was The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which he published in 1759. It was a treatise on ethics that explored the nature and origin of human morality, sympathy, and justice. The second was The Wealth of Nations, which he published in 1776. It was an inquiry into the nature and causes of economic growth, development, and prosperity. It also examined the role of government, markets, trade, money, labor, capital, taxation, and public policy in economic affairs.


Why is he important?




Adam Smith is important because he was one of the first thinkers to offer a systematic analysis of the social, political, and economic implications of human action and interaction. He challenged the prevailing mercantilist doctrine that advocated protectionism, regulation, and monopoly in favor of free trade, competition, and individual liberty. He also proposed a theory of moral sentiments that explained how human beings can act morally without relying on divine command or rational calculation. He is widely regarded as the founder of modern economics and one of the most influential philosophers of all time.


Early life and education




Birth and childhood




Adam Smith was baptized on June 5, 1723 in Kirkcaldy, a small fishing village near Edinburgh. He was the only child of his parents' second marriage. His father, also named Adam Smith, was a comptroller of customs who died two months before his son's birth. His mother, Margaret Douglas, was a daughter of a substantial landowner. She raised her son with care and affection.


Of Smith's childhood nothing is known other than that he received his elementary schooling in Kirkcaldy and that at the age of four years he was said to have been carried off by gypsies. Pursuit was mounted, and young Adam was abandoned by his captors. He would have made, I fear, a poor gipsy, commented the Scottish journalist John Rae, Smiths principal biographer.


University of Glasgow




At the age of 14, Smith entered the University of Glasgow, where he studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson, a prominent professor and a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. Hutcheson introduced Smith to the works of John Locke, David Hume, Bernard Mandeville, and other modern thinkers who influenced his later ideas. Smith also developed an interest in mathematics, astronomy, history, and literature. He graduated in 1740 with a Master of Arts degree.


Balliol College, Oxford




In 1740, Smith won a Snell Exhibition, a scholarship that enabled him to study at Balliol College, Oxford. He intended to pursue a career in the Church of England, but he soon became disillusioned with the academic environment and the quality of instruction at Oxford. He found the curriculum outdated, the professors lazy, and the students unruly. He spent most of his time reading on his own, especially books on natural theology, ethics, jurisprudence, and political economy. He also learned French and Latin and became acquainted with some of the leading intellectuals of his time, such as Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke. He left Oxford in 1746 without taking a degree.


Career and publications




Lectures on moral philosophy and government




After leaving Oxford, Smith returned to Scotland and became a public lecturer in Edinburgh. He delivered a series of lectures on rhetoric, belles lettres, jurisprudence, and moral philosophy. His lectures attracted a large and distinguished audience, including David Hume, who became his lifelong friend and collaborator. In 1751, Smith was appointed as a professor of logic at the University of Glasgow. The following year, he was transferred to the chair of moral philosophy, which had been vacated by his mentor Hutcheson.


As a professor of moral philosophy, Smith taught four subjects: natural theology, ethics, jurisprudence, and political economy. He also continued to give public lectures on various topics. His lectures were well received by his students and colleagues, who praised his eloquence, erudition, and originality. Some of his lectures were later published as essays or incorporated into his books.


The Theory of Moral Sentiments




In 1759, Smith published his first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. It was based on his lectures on ethics and it explored the nature and origin of human morality, sympathy, and justice. Smith argued that human beings have an innate sense of morality that is derived from their ability to sympathize with others. He defined sympathy as the capacity to share or imagine the feelings or sentiments of another person. He claimed that sympathy is the basis of moral approval or disapproval, as well as the source of benevolence or beneficence.


Smith also distinguished between two types of moral rules: rules of justice and rules of beneficence. He defined justice as the observance of the rules that prevent us from harming others or violating their rights. He defined beneficence as the observance of the rules that prompt us to do good to others or promote their happiness. He maintained that justice is essential for social order and stability, while beneficence is desirable for social harmony and improvement. He also suggested that there is a natural harmony between self-interest and social interest, as long as people act according to their conscience or moral sense.


The Theory of Moral Sentiments was an immediate success and established Smith's reputation as a leading moral philosopher. It was praised by Hume, Burke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, and other eminent thinkers. It also influenced several fields of inquiry, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science.


The Wealth of Nations




In 1764, Smith resigned from his professorship at Glasgow and accepted a lucrative offer to become a tutor to Henry Scott (later Duke of Buccleuch), a young nobleman who wanted to travel in Europe. Smith accompanied Scott on his grand tour for nearly three years, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, and other countries. During this time, Smith met some of the leading intellectuals and statesmen of his day, such as Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert, Turgot, Quesnay, Necker, and Morellet. He also studied the economic and political conditions of the various regions he Later life and death




Travels in Europe




In 1764, Smith resigned from his professorship at Glasgow and accepted a lucrative offer to become a tutor to Henry Scott (later Duke of Buccleuch), a young nobleman who wanted to travel in Europe. Smith accompanied Scott on his grand tour for nearly three years, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, and other countries. During this time, Smith met some of the leading intellectuals and statesmen of his day, such as Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert, Turgot, Quesnay, Necker, and Morellet. He also studied the economic and political conditions of the various regions he visited.


Smith was especially impressed by the French Physiocrats, a group of economists who advocated a natural order of society based on land, labor, and free trade. He was influenced by their ideas and incorporated some of them into his own work. He also developed a friendship with Turgot, who became the finance minister of France and implemented some of Smith's recommendations for economic reform.


Retirement and revisions




The tour was cut short in 1766 by the death of Scott's younger brother in Paris. Smith returned to London with Scott and stayed there for several months. He advised Charles Townshend, Scott's stepfather and the chancellor of the exchequer, on economic matters. He also mingled with the literary and political circles of London, meeting Samuel Johnson, Edward Gibbon, Edmund Burke, and others.


In 1767, Smith retired to his birthplace of Kirkcaldy with a pension from Scott. He devoted himself to revising his earlier works and completing his magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations. He also maintained an active correspondence with his friends and colleagues, especially Hume, who was dying of cancer. Smith wrote a moving letter to Hume in 1776, praising his courage and character.


Illness and demise




In 1776, Smith published The Wealth of Nations, which he dedicated to Scott. The book was an instant success and received acclaim from various quarters. It was praised by Burke, Gibbon, Pitt, Fox, and other prominent figures. It also provoked criticism and controversy from some of Smith's opponents, such as Samuel Johnson, who called it "a system of sophistry".


Smith moved to Edinburgh in 1778 and was appointed as a commissioner of customs for Scotland. He also became a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. He continued to revise his works and planned to write a third book on the history of law and government. However, he was hindered by ill health and old age. He died on July 17, 1790 at the age of 67. He was buried in the Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh.


Legacy and influence




Classical liberalism and free market economics




Adam Smith is widely regarded as the father of modern economics and one of the pioneers of classical liberalism. He laid the foundations of a comprehensive system of political economy that explained how markets work, how wealth is created, how nations develop, and how governments should intervene. He advocated free trade, competition, individual liberty, limited government, and the rule of law as the means to achieve economic prosperity and social harmony.


Smith's ideas have influenced many economists, philosophers, politicians, and reformers throughout history. His work has inspired the development of various schools of thought, such as neoclassical economics, Austrian economics, Chicago school, public choice theory, and libertarianism. His work has also informed many policies and institutions that promote free markets, such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Union.


Moral philosophy and social evolution




Adam Smith was not only an economist but also a moral philosopher who had a profound vision of human nature and society. He argued that human beings are endowed with a moral sense that enables them to sympathize with others and to act according to their conscience. He also claimed that human beings are driven by self-interest, but that this can be compatible with social interest if they follow the natural laws of justice and beneficence. He also suggested that there is a natural harmony between the moral and the economic spheres, as well as between the individual and the collective.


Smith also had a historical perspective that traced the evolution of society from the primitive to the civilized stages. He explained how different modes of production, such as hunting, herding, farming, and commerce, affect the social, political, and legal structures of society. He also analyzed how different forms of government, such as monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, and despotism, arise and decline in relation to the economic and moral conditions of society. He also foresaw some of the challenges and opportunities that the modern world would face, such as globalization, industrialization, urbanization, and inequality.


Criticism and controversy




Adam Smith's work has also been subject to criticism and controversy from various perspectives. Some of his critics have accused him of being inconsistent, contradictory, or incomplete in his arguments and analysis. Some have challenged his assumptions, methods, or conclusions on empirical or theoretical grounds. Some have disputed his moral or political implications or applications on ethical or ideological grounds.


Some of the most notable critics of Smith include Samuel Johnson, who rejected his defense of free trade and accused him of being a sophist; Karl Marx, who criticized his theory of value and accused him of being an apologist for capitalism; John Maynard Keynes, who criticized his faith in the self-regulating market and advocated for more government intervention; and Amartya Sen, who criticized his neglect of distributional issues and advocated for more attention to human capabilities.


Conclusion




Adam Smith was a remarkable thinker who made lasting contributions to economics, philosophy, history, and politics. He was a pioneer of classical liberalism and free market economics who explained how markets work and how wealth is created. He was also a moral philosopher who explored the nature and origin of human morality and sympathy. He was also a social theorist who traced the evolution of society from the primitive to the civilized stages. He was also a visionary who anticipated some of the challenges and opportunities that the modern world would face.


Smith's work has influenced many thinkers and actors throughout history and across disciplines. His work has inspired many schools of thought and policies that promote free markets and individual liberty. His work has also provoked many criticisms and controversies that challenge his assumptions, methods, or implications. His work has also stimulated many debates and dialogues that enrich our understanding of human nature and society.


FAQs





  • Q: When and where was Adam Smith born?



  • A: Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland in 1723.



  • Q: What are Adam Smith's two most famous books?



  • A: Adam Smith's two most famous books are The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776).



  • Q: What is Adam Smith's main contribution to economics?



  • A: Adam Smith's main contribution to economics is his comprehensive system of political economy that laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory.



  • Q: What is Adam Smith's main contribution to philosophy?



  • A: Adam Smith's main contribution to philosophy is his theory of moral sentiments that explained how human beings can act morally without relying on divine command or rational calculation.



  • Q: What is Adam Smith's main contribution to history?



  • A: Adam Smith's main contribution to history is his historical perspective that traced the evolution of society from the primitive to the civilized stages.



71b2f0854b


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

Group Page: Groups_SingleGroup
bottom of page