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Smith, Adam (1723-90). A Scotsman brought up by his mother at Kirkcaldy, he became a student under Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow University at the age of fourteen and won a scholarship to Oxford, where he spent six years until 1746. He lectured at Edinburgh University from 1748 to 1751. From 1751 until 1763 he was at Glasgow, first in the Chair of Logic and a year later the Chair of Moral Philosophy, which he took over from Hutcheson. From 1764 to 1766 he toured France as the tutor to the Duke of Buccleugh.
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His major work on economics, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, appeared in 1776. This work of Adam Smith's became the foundation upon which was constructed the whole subsequent tradition of English classical economics, which can be traced from d. Ricardo through a. Marshall to a. L. pigou. Smith was primarily concerned with the factors which led to increased wealth in a community, and he rejected the physiocrats' view of the pre-eminent position of agriculture, recognizing the parallel contribution of manufacturing industry. He began his analysis by means of a sketch of a primitive society of hunters. If it cost twice the labour to kill a beaver as it does a deer, one beaver would exchange for two deer, labour was the fundamental measure of value, though actual prices of commodities were determined by supply and demand on the market ricardo and marx). There were two elements in the problem of increasing wealth: (a) the skill of the labour force and (b) the proportion of productive to unproductive labour. (According to Smith, the service industries did not contribute to real wealth. ) The key to (a) was the division of labour. To illustrate his point, he quoted the example of the manufacture of pins. If one man were set the task of carrying out all the operations of pin manufacture -drawing the wire, cutting, head-fitting and sharpening his output would be minimal. If, however, each man specialized on a single operation only, output would be increased a hundredfold. The size of the output need only be limited by the size of its market. The key to.
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