36 Great Quotes From Adam Smith

Adam Smith was an economist born 1723 in Kirkaldy, Scotland. He was also a philosopher,  author, and a pioneer of political economy. He is also know as ”The Father of Economics” or ”The Father of Capitalism.

His book ‘The Wealth of Nations‘ is certainly worth a read.

Read his best quotes about the subjects of economics, capitalism, philosophy and much more. Enjoy.

Share these quotes from Adam Smith

It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy...What is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.
Adam Smith
The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.
Adam Smith
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
Adam Smith
The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
Adam Smith
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.
Adam Smith
All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
Adam Smith
Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
Adam Smith
The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.
Adam Smith
It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people.
Adam Smith

Ltd edition wall art

Hang printable wall art quotes in your home or office. Buy now from our Etsy shop.

Continue reading author quotes

By means of glasses, hotbeds, and hotwalls, very good grapes can be raised in Scotland, and very good wine too can be made of them at about thirty times the expense for which at least equally good can be brought from foreign countries. Would it be a reasonable law to prohibit the importation of all foreign wines, merely to encourage the making of claret and burgundy in Scotland?
Adam Smith
In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public, the freer and more general the competition, it will always be the more so.
Adam Smith
Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.
Adam Smith
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices…. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies, much less to render them necessary.
Adam Smith
Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this - no dog exchanges bones with another.
Adam Smith
A regulation which obliges all those of the same trade in a particular town to enter their names and places of abode in a public register, facilitates such assemblies…. A regulation which enables those of the same trade to tax themselves in order to provide for their poor, their sick, their widows and orphans…renders such assemblies necessary. An incorporation not only renders them necessary, but makes the act of the majority binding upon the whole. In a free trade, an effectual combination cannot be established but by the unanimous consent of every single trader, and it cannot last longer than every single trader continues of the same mind. The majority of a corporation can enact a bye-law, with proper penalties, which will limit the competition more effectually and more durably than any voluntary combination whatever.
Adam Smith
All money is a matter of belief.
Adam Smith
To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers…The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.
Adam Smith
Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.
Adam Smith
A nation is not made wealthy by the childish accumulation of shiny metals, but it enriched by the economic prosperity of it's people.
Adam Smith
A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.Most government is by the rich for the rich. Government comprises a large part of the organised injustice in any society, ancient or modern.Civil government, insofar as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, and for the defence of those who have property against those who have none.
Adam Smith
The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer.
Adam Smith
By pursuing his own interest (the individual) frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
Adam Smith
The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.
Adam Smith
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.
Adam Smith
There is no art which government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.
Adam Smith
Nothing is more graceful than habitual cheerfulness.
Adam Smith
The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.
Adam Smith
The great secret of education is to direct vanity to proper objects.
Adam Smith
To feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature.
Adam Smith
The interest of [businessmen] is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public ... The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ... ought never to be adopted, till after having been long and carefully examined ... with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men ... who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public.
Adam Smith
Never complain of that of which it is at all times in your power to rid yourself.
Adam Smith
Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality.
Adam Smith
What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
Adam Smith
It is the highest impertinence and presumption… in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense... They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.
Adam Smith
The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities...
Adam Smith
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
Adam Smith
The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other person...
Adam Smith
Every tax ought to be levied at the time, or in the manner, in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay...
Adam Smith
Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state…
Adam Smith
The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country. He would be apt to abandon the country in which he was exposed to a vexatious inquisition, in order to be assessed to a burdensome tax, and would remove his stock to some other country where he could either carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease.
Adam Smith
Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality... for one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor.
Adam Smith
The bounty to the white-herring fishery is a tonnage bounty; and is proportioned to the burden of the ship, not to her diligence or success in the fishery; and it has, I am afraid, been too common for vessels to fit out for the sole purpose of catching, not the fish, but the bounty.
Adam Smith
As a rich man is likely to be a better customer to the industrious people in his neighbourhood than a poor, so is likewise a rich nation. [Trade restrictions,] by aiming at the impoverishment of all our neighbours, tend to render that very commerce insignificant and contemptible.
Adam Smith
There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.
Adam Smith
Public services are never better performed than when their reward comes in consequence of their being performed, and is proportioned to the diligence employed in performing them.
Adam Smith
It is the interest of every man to live as much at his ease as he can; and if his emoluments are to be precisely the same, whether he does, or does not perform some very laborious duty, it is certainly his interest…either to neglect it altogether, or…to perform it in [a] careless and slovenly a manner…
Adam Smith
If [justice] is removed, the great, the immense fabric of human society, that fabric which to raise and support seems in this world if I may say so has the peculiar and darling care of Nature, must in a moment crumble into atoms.
Adam Smith
No complaint... is more common than that of a scarcity of money.
Adam Smith
[The rich] consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity…they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.
Adam Smith
Every individual... neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it... he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
Adam Smith
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 self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.
Adam Smith
Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.
Adam Smith
How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.
Adam Smith
The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition...is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.
Adam Smith
The man of system…is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it… He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it.
Adam Smith
In the university of Oxford, the greater part of the public professors have, for these many years, given up altogether even the pretence of teaching.
Adam Smith
The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of the masters.
Adam Smith
What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
Adam Smith
[Without trade restrictions] the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord. Every man...is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest in his own way.... The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty [for which] no human wisdom or knowledge could ever be sufficient; the duty of superintending the industry of private people, and of directing it towards the employments most suitable to the interest of the society.
Adam Smith

If you enjoyed these author quotes we suggest you read 37 John Maynard Keynes Quotes About Economics And Investing

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap