Wealth of Nations and the Industrial Revolution PDF


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The Wealth of Nations to the Industrial Revolution
—from labor value to cheap labor—
HUM 102 March 18, 2019 — Edw. Mitchell

Adam Smith
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations
1776

By 1750, England has the strongest, most productive market economy in the world.
By 1750 almost everyone depends on exchange to live from day to day. People produce for the market, and they depend on market exchange (buying and selling) to get what they need.
It is a competitive market. Workers compete for work. Producers compete to produce for less cost.
Capitalist production — a capitalist economy — was already well established in England, before Smith and before the Industrial Revolution.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations
[our first questions: What is wealth? And where does wealth come from?]
The annual labour of every nation is the fund which supplies it with all the necessaries and conveniencies of life which it annually consumes, and which consist always either in the immediate produce of its labour, or in what is purchased with that produce from other nations.

The annual labour of every nation is the fund (source) which supplies it with all the necessaries and conveniences of life which (the nation) annually consumes, and which consist always either in the immediate produce of its labour, or in what is purchased with that produce from other nations.
Labor (work) creates the things we need and use (= goods / commodities).
The things we need and use are wealth. We consume wealth. We consume what labor creates.

our next question: Why are some nations wealthier than others?
1) the skill, dexterity, and judgement with which labor is applied (in other words, how things are produced; the techniques of making things)
2) the proportion of those people who do useful work (who make useful things — commodities) and those who do not produce useful things.
Which is more important?

how something is produced (the skill, dexterity and judgement) the way of making something; the 'techniques' of producing

Among the savage nations of hunters and fishers everyone who is able to work is employed in useful labour.
BUT… Such nations are so poor that they must sometimes destroy or abandon their infants and old people and the sick leaving them to perish of hunger or be devoured by wild beasts.

by contrast…
Among civilized and thriving nations, although a great number of people do not labour at all . . .
yet the produce of the whole labor of the society is so great that all are often abundantly supplied,
and the working man if he is frugal [if he doesn’t waste] and industrious [hard working], may enjoy more necessities and conveniencies of life than any savage…

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Wealth of Nations and the Industrial Revolution PDF