Adam Smith
ADAM SMITH  Macroknow Library

The Wealth of Nations.

"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 . . . "1a

"It is not . . . difficult to foresee which of the two parties must . . . have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.  The masters . . . can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen."1b DARWIN ZINN

"When the law does not enforce the performance of contracts, it puts all borrowers nearly upon the same footing with bankrupts or people of doubtful credit . . . "1c

"The pretence that corporations are necessary for the better government of the trade, is without any foundation. The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman, is not that of his corporation, but that of his customers."1d

"The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any."1e ZINN

"Commerce, which ought naturally to be, among nations, as among individuals, a bond of union and friendship, has become the most fertile source of discord and animosity. . . [T]he mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected, may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquility of any body but themselves."1f 

" . . . [T]he cruellest of our revenue laws . . . are mild and gentle, in comparison of some of those which the clamour of our merchants and manufacturers has extorted from the legislators, for the support of their own absurd and oppressive monopolies."1g JEFFERSON

" . . . [I]n the mercantile system, the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer . . . "1h 


1 Adam Smith (1723-1790). The Wealth of Nations (1776). 2 vols. in 1. Edited by Edwin Cannan. Preface by George J. Stigler. The University of Chicago, 1976. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, at 74 (vol. 1, bk. 1). (Cannan's ed. was originally pub. 1904 by Methuen & Co., Ltd.)
a Vol. 1, bk. 1, at 56.
b Vol. 1, bk. 1, at 74.
c Vol. 1, bk. 1, at 107.
d Vol. 1, bk. 1, at 144.
e Vol. 1, bk. 3, at 411.
f Vol. 1, bk. 4, at 519.
g Vol. 2, bk. 4, at 165.
h Vol. 2, bk. 4, at 179.