Philosophers Essay

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Philosophers 1) Adam Smith Biography: * B. June 16th 1723 - d. July 17th 1790 * Adam Smith was an economist and philosopher who wrote the "bible of capitalism," The Wealth of Nations, details the first system of political economy * 1748, Smith began series of public lectures at the University of Edinburgh. 1750 met and became lifelong friends with Scottish philosopher and economist David Hume. * 1759 Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments, human morality depends on sympathy between the individual and other members of society * became the tutor of future Duke of Buccleuch (1763–1766), traveled with him to France, met with other thinkers of his day, such as Benjamin Franklin and French economist Turgot. * Smith proposed that a nation’s wealth should be judged not by this metric but by the total of its production and GDP Main Ideas * free-market economies (i.e., capitalist ones) are the most productive and beneficial to their societies. * an economic system based on individual self-interest led by an “invisible hand,” which would achieve the greatest good for all. * the division of labor, an idea dating back to Plato, through which specialization would lead to a qualitative increase in productivity. Historical Background * The system of mercantilism dominated Western Europe from the sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries. Before Adam Smith, nations operated under the system which is the attempt the accumulate gold and silver and maintain domestic employment. The goal is to increase exports and decrease imports * During Adam Smith's time the government controlled all aspects of society- this included the main economic goals Adam Smith's main idea was the laissez-faire philosophy such as, minimizing government involvement and taxation in the free markets which led to his theory of

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