Classical economics: Smith the prophet of laissez-faire1
The Wealth of Nations is a stupendous palace erected upon the granite of self-interest.2
After all, in a book [WN] which has been regarded as the locus classicus of the laissez-faire ideology for 200 years, a book which shook the world by recommending a maximum degree of freedom for business enterprise — in such a book surely the entrepreneur would play a major role.3
The capitalist division of labour which in Smith’s treatment is used interchangeably with the word ‘commerce’, is a necessary condition for such progress.4
The term ‘laissez-faire’ also provides a means of understanding an important aspect of the complex and detailed account of the commercialisation of Western society that we find in the Wealth of Nations.…
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