Scottish quote of the day: Adam Smith, philosopher and economist

A portrait of Adam Smith, economist and philosopher
A portrait of Adam Smith, economist and philosopher
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“In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public, the freer and more general the competition, it will always be the more so.”

Economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790) was one of Scotland’s most influential figures during the Enlightenment era of the 18th century, and is generally considered to be one of the greatest Scots of all time.

Of Smith’s two best-known works, the Theory Of Moral Sentiments, published in 1759, and 1776’s Wealth Of Nations, the quote above is taken from the latter, a hugely influential treatise on contemporary economics that remains relevant today.

Smith’s book championed a liberal, self-determining economy in which state interference hindered mercantile activity, and is largely credited with influencing what is now commonly referred to as the “laissez-faire” or free market.