The Wealth of Nations

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by Adam Smith

This seminal work on political economy and the foundation of the modern market economy was originally published in 1776. Rich in historical background and acute observations of the 18th-century scene, Adam Smith's masterpiece of economic analysis is also an insightful work of political philosophy. Its revolutionary concepts, including the notion that self-interest stimulates the healthiest economic conditions for all, remain influential with politicians and economists alike.

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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 self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.

— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations