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Published by London Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell (1776)

Used Hardcover First Edition

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From: Heritage Book Shop, ABAA (Beverly Hills, CA, U.S.A.)

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Item Description: London Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1776. "The First and Greatest Classic of Modern Economic Thought" A Beautiful Clean Copy of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" SMITH, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1776. First edition. Two large quarto volumes (sheet size-10 13/16 x 8 3/8 inches; 275 x 213 mm.). [12], [1]-510, [2, blank]; [4], [1]-587, [1, advertisements] pp. Complete with half-title in Volume II (no half-title called for in Volume I), and the final blank leaf at the end of Volume I. Bound in contemporary mottled calf. Boards tooled with gilt boarder, and gilt floral corner devices. Spine densely stamped in gilt in compartments. With blue and green morocco gilt lettering labels. Gilt dentelles. Edges speckled blue. Marbled endpapers. Almost invisibly restored at outer hinges, and headcaps but not rebacked. A slight crease down the center of the spine of volume II. In volume II, pages 563-566 have been bound out of order, between pages 554 and 555, which is not entirely uncommon. A small closed marginal tear with no restoration to leaf 4A2, not affecting text. Overall a very clean, near fine set. Housed in a full tree calf clamshell, elaborately embellished in gilt. Adam Smith (1723-1790) spent ten years in the writing and perfecting of The Wealth of Nations. "The book succeeded at once, and the first edition was exhausted in six months.Whether it be true or not, as Buckle said, that the ‘Wealth of Nations’ was, ‘in its ultimate results, probably the most important that had ever been written’.it is probable that no book can be mentioned which so rapidly became an authority both with statesmen and philosophers" (D.N.B.). "The history of economic theory up to the end of the nineteenth century consists of two parts: the mercantilist phase which was based not so much on a doctrine as on a system of practice which grew out of social conditions; and the second phase which saw the development of the theory that the individual had the right to be unimpeded in the exercise of economic activity. While it cannot be said that Smith invented the latter theory.his work is the first major expression of it. He begins with the thought that labour is the source from which a nation derives what is necessary to it. The improvement of the division of labour is the measure of productivity and in it lies the human propensity to barter and exchange.Labour represents the three essential elements—wages, profit and rent—and these three also constitute income. From the working of the economy, Smith passes to its matter—‘stock’—which compasses all that man owns either for his own consumption or for the return which it brings him. The Wealth of Nations ends with a history of economic development, a definitive onslaught on the mercantile system, and some prophetic speculations on the limits of economic control.The Wealth of Nations is not a system, but as a provisional analysis it is complete convincing. The certainty of its criticism and its grasp of human nature have made it the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought" (Printing and the Mind of Man). Grolier, 100 English, 57. Kress 7261. Printing and the Mind of Man 221. Rothschild 1897. Sabin 82303. HBS 65988. $185,000. Bookseller Inventory # 65988

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