Smith, Adam


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Adam Smith

A Scottish philosopher who is credited with developing most of the ideas of modern economics. Smith believed that economies work most efficiently when economic actors attempt to maximize their own self-interests, and that doing so tends to maximize the interests of society as a whole. He also coined the term Invisible Hand, which is a metaphor for the free market. He published a number of influential works, most notably the Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations. He lived from 1723 to 1790.

Smith, Adam

(1723–90) a Scottish economist whose writings formed the basis of CLASSICAL ECONOMICS. Smith's most famous book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), stressed the benefits of division of labour, discussed the need for SPECIALIZATION and exchange, and outlined the workings of the market mechanism (PRICE SYSTEM). Smith argued that if producers were free to seek profits by providing goods and services, then the ‘invisible hand’ of market forces would ensure that the right goods and services were produced. Provided that markets were free of government regulation, then in this LAISSEZ FAIRE environment competition would organize production in ways that would increase public wellbeing.

In competitive markets, producers would compete to sell more goods, forcing prices down to the lowest level that would cover production costs and allow normal profit to be made. Furthermore, if certain goods were scarce, buyers would offer higher prices, drawing more producers into these industries and swelling supply. In this manner, production in the market system would be driven by what consumers wanted.

Smith's outline of the market mechanism described the new economic system that was beginning to emerge in the newly industrializing Western countries. For the system to work, however, Smith acknowledged that two important conditions needed to be met:

  1. markets needed to be free of government intervention, without the close government regulation of economic activity as had prevailed prior to Smith's day;
  2. the self-seeking behaviour of producers could only be harnessed to the common good where competition prevailed, and Smith was deeply suspicious of MONOPOLIES, considering them to be conspiracies against the consumer. See PRIVATE-ENTERPRISE SYSTEM.
References in periodicals archive ?
Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations, Edwin Cannan editor, Modern Library Edition 1937, Copyright renewed 1965 by Random House, Inc.
Giants: Jake Mamo, Jermaine McGillvary, Jordan Turner, Aaron Murphy, Lee Gaskell, Danny Brough, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Kruise Leeming, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Dale Ferguson, Jordan Rankin, Oliver Roberts, Ukuma Ta'ai, Paul Clough, Daniel Smith, Adam Walne, Adam O'Brien, Darnell McIntosh, Colton Roche.
Tonight's line-up includes Paul Smith, Adam Rowe, Mike Osborne and Steve Shanyaski, a man described by one reviewer as "a mixture between Eddie Izzard and Peter Kay .
ACKLAM: George Briggs, Charlie Clayton, Alfie Dadd, Oscar Carter, Amir Kadir, Jack Perkin, Fletcher Smith, Adam Warwick, Matthew Bond, Ethan Wheeldon, Joe Lofts, Tom Asprey.
ON THEIR WAY Andy Smith, Adam Barker and Dan Barber HIGH POINT Dan Barber, left, and Adam Barker atop the Col de La Bonnette
Before the match, county indoor president Mike Brayne presented blazer badges to Avon Valley's Mark Smith, Adam Smith and Andy Strain, Thornfield's Craig Carter and Liam Pearcey, and Solihull's Elliott Jude, who all qualified for the awards after playing six games at county level.
SCENE OF TERROR: Armstrong Bridge in Newcastle; below, from left, Bradley Bulman, Dillan Cooper, Kieron Smith, Adam Jones and Wayne Scott who have been jailed for a total of 22 years
Groomsman included Maury Brickell Breazeale, Leslie Taylor Burwell, Jonathan Gordon Daniel, Harry Case Embry, Walter Michael Harkins, Mark Tredway Hodges, Edward Foster Kennedy III, Logan Butch Phillips III, Adam Clark Quick, Dallas Percy Quinn, Stephen Leslie Smith, Adam Haley Sowell, and John Hunter Summerford.
Also on the bill tonight will be Big Danny Kane, Dean Smith, Adam Regan along with residents from The Rainbow.
and Kayla Dunn and Samantha Dunn, both of Springfield; five brothers, Kyle Strong of Kennewick and Victor Smith, Adam Smith, John Smith and Gary Smith, all of Boise; three sisters, Josie Smith and Martha Strong, both of Kennewick, and Tina Moore of Moses Lake, Wash.
First year apprentices for 2008-9: Sean Stokes, Leigh Smith, Adam Matthews, Luke Cummings, Jordan Santiago (gk), Jonathan Meades, Ibrahim Farah, Billy Taylor, Aaron Wildig, Nathaniel Jarvis, Kye Edwards.
Among the options are the likes of Graeme Smith, Adam Gilchrist, Brian Lara and Justin Langer, all of whom could also captain.