Adam Smith in Quotes
Smith’s ground breaking philosophical and economic work remains alive today through public discussion and key quotations from his text. A small selection of his most notable quotes is listed below, along with some words about his good friend David Hume.
From A Theory of Moral Sentiments
"However selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it."
"Never complain of that of which it is at all times within your power to rid."
"The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise, or, at least, neglect persons of poor or mean conditions... is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments."
From Wealth of Nations
"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, cloath and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged."
"Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality."
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect to eat our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
"There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people."
From his other correspondence
"Upon the whole, I have always considered him, both in his lifetime and since his death, as approaching as nearly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the nature of human frailty will permit."
- On his friend David Hume, in a letter to William Strachan, dated 9 November 1776.