An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
by Adam Smith, edited by Edwin Cannan, preface by George J. Stigler
University of Chicago Press, 1977
Paper: 978-0-226-76374-3 | Electronic: 978-0-226-76375-0
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226763750.001.0001


Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations was recognized as a landmark of human thought upon its publication in 1776. As the first scientific argument for the principles of political economy, it is the point of departure for all subsequent economic thought. Smith's theories of capital accumulation, growth, and secular change, among others, continue to be influential in modern economics.

This reprint of Edwin Cannan's definitive 1904 edition of The Wealth of Nations includes Cannan's famous introduction, notes, and a full index, as well as a new preface written especially for this edition by the distinguished economist George J. Stigler. Mr. Stigler's preface will be of value for anyone wishing to see the contemporary relevance of Adam Smith's thought.


Preface, 1976


Editor's Introduction

Introduction and Plan of the work

Book I

1. Of the Division of Labour

2. Of the Principle which gives Occasion to the Division of Labour

3. That the Division of Labour is Limited by the Extent of the Market

4. Of the Origin and Use of Money

5. Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities, or of their Price in Labour, and their Price in Money

6. Of the Component Parts of the Price of Commodities

7. Of the Natural and Market Price of Commodities

8. Of the Wages of Labour

9. Of the Profits of Stock

10. Of Wages and Profit in the Different Employments of Labour and Stock

11. Of the Rent of Land

Book II


1. Of the Division of Stock

2. Of Money Considered as a particular Branch of the General Stock of the Society, or of the Expence of Maintaining the National Capital

3. Of the Accumulation of Capital, or of Productive and Unproductive Labour

4. Of Stock Lent at Interest

5. Of the Different Employment of Capitals

Book III

1. Of the Natural Progress of Opulence

2. Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the Ancient State of Europe after the Fall of the Roman Empire

3. Of the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns, after the Fall of the Roman Empire

4. How the Commerce of the Towns Contributed to the Improvement of the Country

Book IV


1. Of the Principle of the Commercial or Mercantile System

2. Of Restraints upon the Importation from Foreign Countries of such Goods as can be Produced at Home

Book IV

4. Of Drawbacks

5. Of Bounties

6. Of Treaties of Commerce

7. Of Colonies

8. Conclusion of the Mercantile System

9. Of the Agricultural Systems, or of those Systems of Political Oeconomy, which Represent the Produce of Land as either the Sole or the Principal Source of the Revenue and Wealth of Every Country

Book V

1. Of the Expences of the Sovereign or Commonwealth

2. Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society

3. Of Public Depts