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Adam smith (Essay Sample)


Adam smith is one of the world’s most influential and best-known economist and philosopher. His contributions in teaching and his theories on wealth creation of nations, Free Market Economics, and management make him the best if not one of the best economists.


Adam smith is one of the world's most influential and best-known economist and philosopher. His contributions in teaching and his theories on wealth creation of nations, Free Market Economics, and management make him the best if not one of the best economists. He was born in Kirkcaldy Scotland in the year 1723 though the exact date is not known. He joined Burgh school where he studied mathematics, Latin, history, and writing. At the age of fourteen, Smith entered the University of Glasgow on scholarship. In 1740, he attended Balliol College at oxford, and graduated with extensive knowledge of European literature. Adam Smith was a pioneer of political economy, and a moral philosopher. His most famous works for which he was known for were theory of moral sediments and the wealth of nations. Wealth of nations was considered as the bible of capitalism. Wealth of nations entails early systems of political economy. He is thus considered as the father of modern economics (Buchan, 2006).
Adam smith started giving series of public lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1748. It is during this lectures where he met, and collaborated with David Hume in the Scottish enlightenment. Smith was later appointed to the Glasgow university faculty. It was at the university where he obtained his professorship, wrote, and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
In 1763 smith left the university to accompany the young Duke of Buccheuch in a grand tour around Europe. This trip enabled him to meet other intellectuals and exchange ideas. These intellectuals included great French Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire d'Holbach Quesnay, and Turgot who were a part of physiocrats school of thoughts.
The invisible hand was a metaphor, which was conceived by Adam smith to describe the behavior of capitalism, and the market place. It was the self-regulating behavior of the market as both buyers and sellers on both ends of transactions strived to maximize their profits, and resulted to desirable social ends. The profit motives and desire for self-gain in transactions lead to better products, for a lesser cost in an unregulated free market (Joyce, 2001). Adam Smith pointed out that the benefits of the invisible hand did not depend on benevolent aims of the individuals.The concept was developed by Smith to argue against government regulating trade, and protectionist policies. Unlike a centrally planned system, a free market generates demand and others provide the goods to satisfy the demand at a profit hence resources end up being allocated the best way possible (Durlau & Blume, 2008).
According to smith, division of labor is the specialization of individuals in different functions, which combine to achieve a common goal. The main contribution of division of labor was to breakdown large jobs into many tiny functions, which enabled workers to be experts in their narrow fields (Otteson, 2011). Smith argued that division of labor increased productivity. He also advocated for matching of skills with work area. Those who were good at a certain area were assigned to that function. He also emphasized on matching technology to improve productivity.The downside of division of labor, and specialization was the mutilation of workers skills, and lack of innovation and growth (Alvey, 2003).
The theory of moral sentiments was Smith's first work in 1759. He tried to explain human's moral inclination despite his self-interest personality. Smith explained why humans developed social relations. He concluded that humans showed sympathy to others or in presence of others, and developed a conscience. The moral thinking was an attempt to please an external or impartial spectator and in return gain sympathy. This theory argues that human moral actions are guided by social physiology more or better than is guided by reason. The basic prudence rules and justice enable a society to advance. Prudence moderates people's actions and excesses while justice prevents our destructive actions toward others (McKenna, 2006).

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