Unformatted text preview: Assignments for Wealth of Nations reading:
Introduction and Plan of the Work
Bk. I, ch. 15, 7, 8
Bk. II, ch. 3
Bk III, ch. 1
Bk. IV, ch. 2
Bk. V, ch. 1 pt. 2; ch. 3 Some basic definitions
Some basic definitions
Politics: 1) the habits, norms, rules, or laws that communities enact and enforce, in order to promote peaceful coexistence and their own collective wellbeing; AND, 2) to the processes by which communities arrive at these habits, rules, norms, or laws. Definitions
Definitions Political theory: (1) the systematic attempt to articulate basic principles by which a community’s public affairs ought to be organized; (2) to provide a conceptual foundation for political behavior; and (3) to defend those principles against competing views in their own society or elsewhere. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)
Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848) Politics and Economics
Politics and Economics What is democracy?
What is capitalism? What, if anything, do the two systems have in common?
Where, if anywhere, do they diverge? Adam Smith (17231790)
Adam Smith (17231790) Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Edinburgh
Author of Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and Wealth of Nations (1776) Wealth of Nations (1776)
Wealth of Nations Political economy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes two distinct objects: first, to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and secondly, to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services. It proposes to enrich both the people and the sovereign. (Book IV, Introduction) Wealth of Nations
Wealth of Nations Division of labor
The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour. (3) Division of labor: why so effective?
Division of labor: why so effective? Increases each worker’s dexterity and productivity
Facilitates the development of labor
saving devices Division of labor
Division of labor It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a wellgoverned society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. (11) Division of labor
Division of labor [i]f we…consider what a variety of labour is employed about each of them, we shall be sensible that without the assistance and cooperation of many thousands, the very meanest person in a civilized country could not be provided, even according to what we very falsely imagine, the easy and simple manner in which he is commonly accommodated. (1213) The disposition to truck, barter, and The disposition to truck, barter, and exchange
Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. (1415) The disposition to truck, barter, and The disposition to truck, barter, and exchange
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. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their selflove, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. (15) The disposition to truck, barter, and The disposition to truck, barter, and exchange
Among men…the most dissimilar geniuses are of use to one another; the different produces of their respective talents, by the general disposition to truck, barter, and exchange, being brought, as it were, into a common stock, where every man may purchase whatever part of the produce of other men's talents he has occasion for. (17) ...
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