Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book: The Invisible Hand by Adam Smith (Penguin Great Ideas)

The Invisible Hand is a collection of excerpts from Adam Smith's classic "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations". The first few chapters concern the division and specialisation of labour are crucial reading for all, along with the later commentary on tariffs and protectionism. The middle section on mercantilism is no longer so relevant, partly due to the thankful influence of this very book, and so is less interesting unless perhaps you are a student of economic history.

Despite being published over two hundred years ago, Smith's words have stood the passage of time most excellently; the writing is exceedingly clear and convincing and it is also a joy to read with talk of importations, exportations, manufactures, manufactories and such like. As an aside, Keynes' book on his "General Theory" is impenetrable in comparison, despite being written much later.

I'll post the quotables to the blog over the next few weeks. There are quite a few to work through!

"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."

**** (ignoring the section on mercantilism)

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