Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
is the foundation of classical
economics, and it has influenced a broad range
of thinkers. Smith stresses the importance of the division of
labor to economic progress. He criticizes the arguments for
economic planning and offers a detailed theoretical and historical
case for free trade.
first tape in the set examines the basic problems addressed
by Adam Smith in the context of the Scottish Enlightenment.
This intellectual revival during the late 18th century produced
many outstanding thinkers in addition to Smith, such as the
Hume. This tape also discusses Adam Smith's general
approach to philosophy and how The Wealth of Nations fits into
second tape covers some major themes in The Wealth of Nations,
a lengthy and complex book. These include the division of labor,
the idea of an unplanned social order (the famous "invisible
hand"), Adam Smith's theory of economic value and its influence
on later thinkers, and Smith's defense of free trade.
of Smith's arguments are difficult to follow for the modern
reader. The third and fourth tapes explain Smith's major arguments
in the order they appear in The Wealth of Nations, while providing
the background necessary for comprehension. These tapes follow
the five books of The Wealth of Nations and explain how their
seemingly diverse themes related to Smith's general purpose.
Far more than a work on economic theory, The Wealth of Nations
contains philosophy, history, and political theory.