25 Quotes by Adam Smith that will make you think

Quotes by Adam SmithToday I thought it would be interesting to explore some quotes by Adam Smith.

Adam Smith was a Scottish economist and philosopher who was a pioneer in the thinking of political economy.

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 the first modern work that treats economics as a comprehensive system and as an academic discipline.

Adam Smith laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory, and he developed the concept of division of labour and expounded upon how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity.

However, Adam Smith was a controversial figure in his own day and his general approach and writing style were often satirised by other writers such as Horace Walpole.

Nevertheless, he was an important figure, and his ideas are influential to this day. So, as always with successful people, it’s worth thinking about what he had to say.

So, here are 25 quotes by Adam Smith that will make you think.

I hope you’ll find them interesting and, please, do pass them on.

Quotes by Adam Smith (1-10):

  1. All money is a matter of belief.
  2. Every man lives by exchanging.
  3. There’s a lot of ruin in a nation.
  4. Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse.
  5. Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.
  6. Individual ambition serves the common good.
  7. The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.
  8. No complaint is more common than that of a scarcity of money.
  9. This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.
  10. Never complain of that of which it is, at all times, in your power to rid yourself.

Quotes by Adam Smith (11-20):

  1. With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.
  2. What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
  3. Man is an animal that makes bargains. No other animal does this. No dog exchanges bones with another.
  4. Labour was the first price, the original purchase, money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.
  5. The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.
  6. As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed and demand a rent even for its natural produce.
  7. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
  8. All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
  9. Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.
  10. It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country.

Quotes by Adam Smith (21-25):

  1. Virtue is more to be feared than vice because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
  2. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members is poor and miserable.
  3. The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.
  4. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
  5. Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition.

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