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Adam Smith Influence on Economic Theory Essay

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Why is the work of Adam Smith considered so crucial in the development of economic thought? Adam Smith is widely regarded as the father of economics as a social science, and is perhaps best known for his work The Wealth of Nations. Throughout this work Smith states and informs towards his belief that society is not at its most productive when ruled over by rules and limitations with regards to trade, and that in order for markets to maximise prosperity, a free trade environment should be made accessible. In this essay I intend to asses the way in which many of Smiths theories taken directly form his works can be applied to past and current situations, first from an economic then social, and then a political point of view. I will also…show more content…
The ‘invisible hand’ would have such an effect if every individual acts in order to maximise their own prosperity, the prosperity of the community will, in turn, be maximised and become more efficient. “This effect is very well exemplified in modern day terms by using a supermarket queuing system as an example. Each customer getting in line selfishly chooses to maximize his own interest, that is to check out in the shortest time, regardless of the other customers. Their utility maximizing choice is to get in queue in the shortest line; this means that eventually customers queue up in lines all of the same length. Therefore even without the slightest direction and by following only their selfishness, the lines are all of the same length, which is clearly the most efficient disposition.” This theory has been crucial in the development of economic thought in that it is a statement which reflected society in Smiths day, and is still so widely applicable in modern day society. From a political point of view, Smith wrote that Government intervention should be kept to a minimum within society. From a mercantilist point of view this was a terrible suggestion, however Smith argued that government intervention in markets will cause a limitation in productivity, and therefore not maximise efficiency. However if left alone as discussed in the previous paragraph, each party will seek to maximise its own prosperity within the given constraints, in turn maximising the
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