Mark Skousen
Smiths Classic Work Receives Universal Acclaim
An extract from The Making of Modern Economics

Adam Smith's eloquent advocacy of natural liberty fired the minds of a rising generation. His words literally changed the course of politics, dismantling the old mercantilist doctrines of protectionism and human bondage. Much of the worldwide move toward free trade can be attributed to Adam Smith's work. The Wealth of Nations was the ideal document to accompany the industrial revolution and the political rights of man.

Smith's magnum opus has received almost universal acclaim. H.L. Mencken stated, "There is no more engrossing book in the English language" (Powell 2000: 251). Historian Arnold Toynbee asserted that "The Wealth of Nations and the steam engine destroyed the old world and built a new one" (Rashid 1998: 212). The English historian Henry Thomas Buckle stretched the hyperbole even further to claim that, in terms of its ultimate influence, Smith's tome "is probably the most important book that has ever been written," including the Bible (Rogge 1976: 9). Paul A. Samuelson placed Smith "on a pinnacle" among economists (Samuelson 1962: 7).
Even Marxists sometimes extol the virtues of Adam Smith.











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