Adam Smith Quotes

Adam Smith (16 June 1723 NS (5 June 1723 OS) – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish moral philosopher, pioneer of political economy, and a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment

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Adam Smith


No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.

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To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.

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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.

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All money is a matter of belief.

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The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.

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It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country.

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Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition.

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The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation.

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Resentment seems to have been given us by nature for a defense, and for a defense only! It is the safeguard of justice and the security of innocence.

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The ancient Egyptians had a superstitious antipathy to the sea; a superstition nearly of the same kind prevails among the Indians; and the Chinese have never excelled in foreign commerce.

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Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse.

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The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, capable not only of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting 100 impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.

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Labor was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things.

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Under capitalism the more money you have, the easier it is to make money, and the less money you have, the harder.Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. The affluence of the rich supposes the indigence of the many.

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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


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