Adam Smith Quotes

adam smith economist

Quotes by ADAM SMITH : Invisible Hand, Liberalism and Capitalism

If one have to quote one single economist in the history of thought, it certainly would be Adam Smith. Hence, the scottish thinker invented the concept of market, the theory of the invisible hand, the division of work(both micro and macro-economic, via the theory of absolute advantage and free trade). According to Smith, liberalism is the best option since the market knows its own  interest (better than State), it  regulates itself through supply and demand. It therefore has a purely economic vision of society.

Economist, but also a philosopher, Smith thinks human nature in relation to its economic field. The Wealth of Nations and  Theory of Moral Sentiments and structured to form a coherent intellectual corpus, in which the individual, society and economics form a continuum governed by the interest and sympathy.

Smith and the self-regulating market:

– “The statesman who would attempt to direct individuals how to employ their capitals would be responsible not only to care very redundant, but assume an authority which could safely be entrusted to no council or senate and which would nowhere so dangerous in the hands of a man so foolish and presumptuous enough to believe themselves capable of exercising”


Smith and the invisible hand:

– “This is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to research their own interests. We do not rely on their humanity, but their selfishness”

Smith, poverty and inequality:

– “Surely we should not look as happy and prosperous a society whose members are reduced to more poverty and misery. The only equity, moreover, requires that those who feed, clothe and house all body of the nation, have in the product of their own work, enough to be themselves tolerably fed, clothed and housed”

– “The Birth and fortune are evidently the two circumstances which contribute most to place a man above another. These are the two major sources of personal distinction, and are, therefore, that establish major causses natural authority and subordination among men”

– “All for ourselves and nothing for others is the vile maxim seems to have been in all ages, the masters of mankind”

– “Members of an industry rarely meet for pleasure or for entertainment, but their conversation invariably leads to a conspiracy against the public interest or on an agreement to increase their prices”

– “Equal amounts of work must be, in all times and in all places, with a value equal to the worker. Thus, the work, never varying in its own value, is the only real measure and that final can serve in all weathers and in all places, to assess and compare the value of all goods. It is their real price, the money is their nominal price”

Smith and value-working:

– “What every thing really costs to those who want to get it is work and the pain he must win to get it”

Smith and savings:

– “But the principle that impels us to save is the desire to improve our lot, who generally desire, indeed, is calm and dispassionate, but born with us and leaves us at the tomb”


Cite this article as: Tim, "Adam Smith Quotes, May 30, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 30, 2012,

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