Adam Smith (1723-1790)

“The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations”

“Every individual…generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

“Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this – no dog exchanges bones with another.”

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

“The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.”

“Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.”

“Such is the delicacy of man alone, that no object is produced to his liking. He finds that in everything there is need for improvement…. The whole industry of human life is employed not in procuring the supply of our three humble necessities, food, clothes and lodging, but in procuring the conveniences of it according to the nicety and delicacy of our tastes.”

“This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”

“As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.”

“Labour was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.”

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.”

“Humanity is the virtue of a woman, generosity that of a man.”

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

“To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.”

“The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is … that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.”

“On the road from the City of Skepticism, I had to pass through the Valley of Ambiguity.”

“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”

“The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”

“Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse.”

“The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation.”

“I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

“The robot is going to lose. Not by much. But when the final score is tallied, flesh and blood is going to beat the damn monster.”

“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

“The mind is so rarely disturbed, but that the company of friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.”

“Defense is superior to opulence.”

“No complaint … is more common than that of a scarcity of money.”

“The machines that are first invented to perform any particular movement are always the most complex, and succeeding artists generally discover that, with fewer wheels, with fewer principles of motion, than had originally been employed, the same effects may be more easily produced. The first systems, in the same manner, are always the most complex.”

“It (Oxford) is a sanctuary in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices find shelter and protection after they have been hunted out of every corner of the world.”

“Poor David Hume is dying fast, but with more real cheerfulness and good humor and with more real resignation to the necessary course of things, than any Whining Christian ever dyed with pretended resignation to the will of God.”

“It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country.”

“With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.”

“Mankind are animals that makes bargains, no other animal does this.”

“All money is a matter of belief.”

“Labor was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things.”

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