Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations is regarded by many as the most important text in the history of economics. Jerry Evensky's analysis of this landmark book walks the reader through the five 'Books' of The Wealth of Nations, analyzing Smith's terms and assumptions and how they are developed into statements about economic processes in Book I, his representation of the dynamics of economics systems in Book II, and his empirical case for his model in Book III. With that framework in place, Evensky examines Smith's critique of alternative models, mercantilism and physiocracy, in Book IV, and Smith's presentation of the policy implications of his analysis presented in Book V. This guide highlights the nexus of Smith's economics and his work on ethics and jurisprudence, and in doing so Evensky sets his examination of The Wealth of Nations into a larger, holistic analysis of Smith's moral philosophy.
Jerry Evensky is Professor of Economics and Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence at Syracuse University. He has published widely on Adam Smith's work including in History of Political Economy, the Journal of the History of Economic Thought, the Scottish Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the Southern Economic Journal, the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, and the Review of Social Economy. He co-edited, with Robin Malloy, Adam Smith and the Philosophy of Law and Economics (1994). His book, Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective on Markets, Law, Ethics, and Culture, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2005.
Prologue; 1. Adam Smith's moral philosophical vision: the context of his economic analysis; 2. An inquiry: Book I; 3. An inquiry: Books II and III; 4. An inquiry: Book IV; 5. An inquiry: Book V; Epilogue: Adam Smith and laissez-faire.