Adam Smith

William B. Todd (ed.), The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, Vol. 2: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1

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1 4Political œconomy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman5or legislator, proposes two distinct objects; first, to provide a plentiful6revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to7provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and secondly, to8supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the publick9services. It proposes to enrich both the people and the sovereign.

2 10The different progress of opulence in different ages and nations, has given11occasion to two different systems of political œconomy, with regard to en-12riching the people. The one may be called the system of commerce, the13other that of agriculture. I shall endeavour to explain both as fully and14distinctly as I can, and shall begin with the system of commerce. It is the15modern system, and is best understood in our own country and in our own16times.

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