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Реферат Adam Smith

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Текст реферата Adam Smith

Student: Anton Skobelev
Group: 855
Moscow 1997
After two centuries, Adam Smith remains a towering figure in the
history of economic thought. Known primarily for a single work, An
Inquiry into the nature an causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), the
first comprehensive system of political economy, Smith is more
properly regarded as a social philosopher whose economic writings
constitute only the capstone to an overarching view of political and
social evolution. If his masterwork is viewed in relation to his
earlier lectures on moral philosophy and government, as well as to
allusions in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) to a work he hoped
to write on “the general principles of law and government, and of
the different revolutions they have undergone in the different ages
and periods of society”, then The Wealth of Nations may be seen
not merely as a treatise on economics but as a partial exposition of a
much larger scheme of historical evolution.
Early Life
Unfortunately, much is known about Smith’ s thought than about
his life. Though the exact date of his birth is unknown, he was
baptised on June 5, 1723, in Kikcaldy, a small (population 1,500) but
thriving fishing village near Edinburgh, the son by second marriage of
Adam Smith, comptroller of customs at Kikcaldy, and Margaret Douglas,
daughter of a substantial landowner. Of Smith’ s childhood
nothing is known other than that he received his elementary schooling
in Kirkcaldy and that at the age of four years he was said to have
been carried off by gypsies. Pursuits was mounted, and young Adam was
abandoned by his captors. “He would have made, I fear, a poor
gypsy”, commented his principal biographer.
At the age of 14, in 1737, Smith entered the university of Glasgow,
already remarkable as a centre of what was to become known as the
Scottish Enlightenment. There, he was deeply influenced by Francis
Hutcheson, a famous professor of moral philosophy from whose economic
and philosophical views he was later to diverge but whose magnetic
character seems to have been a main shaping force in Smith’ s
development. Graduating in 1740, Smith won a scholarship (the Snell
Exhibition) and travelled on horseback to Oxford, where he stayed at
Balliol College. Compared to the stimulating atmosphere of Glasgow,
Oxford was an educational desert. His years there were spent largely
in selfeducation, from which Smith obtained a firm grasp of both
classical and contemporary philosophy .
Returning to his home after an absence of six years, Smith cast about
for suitable employment. The connections of his mother’ s
family, together with the support of the jurist and philosopher Lord
Henry Kames, resulted in an opportunity to give a series of public
lectures in Edinburgh a form of education then much in vogue in the