What Motivated Adam Smith?

Why did Adam Smith, considered by many to be the father of economics, write The Wealth of Nations in 1776? Prof. James Otteson suggests that one of Adam Smith’s main concerns was poverty, which, at the time of Smith’s writings, was much worse than the poverty of today. After analyzing centuries of data, Smith found that commerce and limited government are the best tools for alleviating poverty.


  1. Matt Wavle

    Adam Smith wanted to help the poor, and explained that the free market and unobstructed free trade helps the poor, the most.

  2. taschrant

    I agree with pretty much what you said, though I am having trouble understanding the mercy part.  Perhaps empathy?  I think it’s just people pursuing their self-interests and collaborating with other people to reach those interests.  But again, I agree with you!

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