Adam Smith An outline biography Adam Smith was born in in the town of Kirkaldy in the county of Fife just north of, and across the Firth i.
After two centuries, Adam Smith remains a towering figure in the history of economic thought. Known primarily for a single work—An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nationsthe first comprehensive system of political economy—Smith is more properly regarded as a social philosopher whose economic writings constitute only the capstone to an overarching view of political and social evolution.
He was the son by second marriage of Adam Smith, comptroller of customs at Kirkcaldy, a small population 1, but thriving fishing village near Edinburghand Margaret Douglas, daughter of a substantial landowner. Pursuit was mounted, and young Adam was abandoned by his captors. At the age of 14, inSmith entered the University of Glasgowalready remarkable as a centre of what was to become known as the Scottish Enlightenment.
Graduating inSmith won a scholarship the Snell Exhibition and traveled on horseback to Oxford, where he stayed at Balliol College. Compared with the stimulating atmosphere of Glasgow, Oxford was an educational desert. His years there were spent largely in self-education, from which Smith obtained a firm grasp of both classical and contemporary philosophy.
Returning to his home after an absence of six years, Smith cast about for suitable employment. Although his lectures were presented in English rather than in Latin, following the precedent of Hutcheson, the level of sophistication for so young an audience strikes one today as extraordinarily demanding.
Afternoons were occupied with university affairs in which Smith played an active role, being elected dean of faculty in ; his evenings were spent in the stimulating company of Glasgow society. Among his wide circle of acquaintances were not only members of the aristocracymany connected with the government, but also a range of intellectual and scientific figures that included Joseph Blacka pioneer in the field of chemistry; James Wattlater of steam-engine fame; Robert Foulisa distinguished printer and publisher and subsequent founder of the first British Academy of Design; and, not least, the philosopher David Humea lifelong friend whom Smith had met in Edinburgh.
Smith was also introduced during these years to the company of the great merchants who were carrying on the colonial trade that had opened to Scotland following its union with England in From Cochrane and his fellow merchants Smith undoubtedly acquired the detailed information concerning trade and business that was to give such a sense of the real world to The Wealth of Nations.
Didacticexhortative, and analytic by turns, it lays the psychological foundation on which The Wealth of Nations was later to be built. The theory may sound less naive if the question is reformulated to ask how instinctual drives are socialized through the superego.
The thesis of the impartial spectator, however, conceals a more important aspect of the book. Smith saw humans as creatures driven by passions and at the same time self-regulated by their ability to reason and—no less important—by their capacity for sympathy.
This duality serves both to pit individuals against one another and to provide them with the rational and moral faculties to create institutions by which the internecine struggle can be mitigated and even turned to the common good.
He wrote in his Moral Sentiments the famous observation that he was to repeat later in The Wealth of Nations: At one level there is a seeming clash between the theme of social morality contained in the first and the largely amoral explication of the economic system in the second.
On the other hand, the first book can also be seen as an explanation of the manner in which individuals are socialized to become the market-oriented and class-bound actors that set the economic system into motion.
Travels on the Continent The Theory quickly brought Smith wide esteem and in particular attracted the attention of Charles Townshendhimself something of an amateur economist, a considerable wit, and somewhat less of a statesman, whose fate it was to be the chancellor of the Exchequer responsible for the measures of taxation that ultimately provoked the American Revolution.
Townshend had recently married and was searching for a tutor for his stepson and ward, the young duke of Buccleuch. Influenced by the strong recommendations of Hume and his own admiration for The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he approached Smith to take the charge.
Accordingly, Smith resigned his Glasgow post in and set off for France the next year as the tutor of the young duke. They stayed mainly in Toulousewhere Smith began working on a book eventually to be The Wealth of Nations as an antidote to the excruciating boredom of the provinces.
After 18 months of ennui he was rewarded with a two-month sojourn in Genevawhere he met Voltairefor whom he had the profoundest respect, thence to Paris, where Hume, then secretary to the British embassy, introduced Smith to the great literary salons of the French Enlightenment.
There is some controversy as to the precise degree of influence the physiocrats exerted on Smith, but it is known that he thought sufficiently well of Quesnay to have considered dedicating The Wealth of Nations to him, had not the French economist died before publication.
The stay in Paris was cut short by a shocking event. Smith and his charge immediately returned to London. Smith worked in London until the spring of with Lord Townshend, a period during which he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and broadened still further his intellectual circle to include Edmund BurkeSamuel JohnsonEdward Gibbonand perhaps Benjamin Franklin.
Late that year he returned to Kirkcaldy, where the next six years were spent dictating and reworking The Wealth of Nations, followed by another stay of three years in London, where the work was finally completed and published in The Wealth of Nations Despite its renown as the first great work in political economy, The Wealth of Nations is in fact a continuation of the philosophical theme begun in The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Adam Smith, drawing by John Kay, It should be noted that each of these stages is accompanied by institutions suited to its needs.The life of Edward M.
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Together with his cousin and former teammate Michael O’Loughlin, Adam established the Go Foundation which empowers the next generation of Aboriginal role models in all walks of life. Adam co-chairs the foundation, focused on promoting education, employment and healthy lifestyles.
Adam Smith's exact date of birth is unknown, but he was baptised on 5 June His father, a customs officer in Kirkcaldy, died before he was born. He studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. L.A. Times entertainment news from Hollywood including event coverage, celebrity gossip and deals.
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