Top 54 Adam Smith Quotes on Economy, Philosophy

In this post, I’ve collected 54 top Adam Smith Quotes, mainly on political economy and moral philosophy. We know that during the Scottish Enlightenment, Mr. Smith played a great role. On that days, his speeches on capitalism, free trading, society, government, labor etc had created huge effects that encouraged many people to rethink about their duties and activities.

Anyway, most of the following Adam Smith Quotes are from his two classic books on modern economics, and still now, lots of people find those quotes very useful.

A brief about Adam Smith

Adam Smith (June 16, 1723- July 17, 1790) was a renowned Scottish political economist, moral philosopher, and famous author of two classic, influential books on modern economics namely The Wealth of Nations (1776) and The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Through The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith introduced the theory of absolute advantage. Adam Smith is well known as ”The Father of Capitalism” or ”The Father of Economics”.

Adam Smith Quotes from The Wealth Of Nations

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. Adam Smith

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. Adam Smith

Every individual… neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it… 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. Adam Smith

[The rich] consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity…they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species. Adam Smith

It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. Adam Smith

It is not for its own sake that men desire money, but for the sake of what they can purchase with it.

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. Adam Smith

What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. Adam Smith

Adam Smith quotes on trading

It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. Adam Smith

Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. Adam Smith

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…. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies, much less to render them necessary. Adam Smith

There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people. Adam Smith

To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. Adam Smith

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

As a rich man is likely to be a better customer to the industrious people in his neighbourhood than a poor, so is likewise a rich nation. Adam Smith

A merchant, it has been said very properly, is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country. Adam Smith

It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Adam Smith

Adam Smith quotes about society

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

The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of the masters. Adam Smith

In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public, the freer and more general the competition, it will always be the more so. Adam Smith

The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities… Adam Smith

Every tax ought to be levied at the time, or in the manner, in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay… Adam Smith

Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state… Adam Smith

The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other person… Adam Smith

Adam Smith quotes public services

Public services are never better performed than when their reward comes in consequence of their being performed, and is proportioned to the diligence employed in performing them. Adam Smith

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. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages. Adam Smith

The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country. He would be apt to abandon the country in which he was exposed to a vexatious inquisition, in order to be assessed to a burdensome tax, and would remove his stock to some other country where he could either carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease. Adam Smith

It is the interest of every man to live as much at his ease as he can; and if his emoluments are to be precisely the same, whether he does, or does not perform some very laborious duty, it is certainly his interest…either to neglect it altogether, or…to perform it in [a] careless and slovenly a manner… Adam Smith

The great affair, we always find, is to get money. Adam Smith

Adam Smith Quotes from The Theory Of Moral Sentiments

The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition…is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations. Adam Smith

The most sacred laws of justice are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbor. Adam Smith

The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Adam Smith

Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent. Adam Smith

If (justice) is removed, the great, the immense fabric of human society, that fabric which to raise and support seems in this world if I may say so has the peculiar and darling care of Nature, must in a moment crumble into atoms. – Adam Smith

Adam Smith quotes on virtue

Virtue is excellence, something uncommonly great and beautiful, which rises far above what is vulgar and ordinary. Adam Smith

Never complain of that of which it is at all times in your power to rid yourself. Adam Smith

We are but one of the multitude, in no respect better than any other in it. Adam Smith

How 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. Adam Smith

The profligacy of a man of fashion is looked upon with much less contempt and aversion, than that of a man of meaner condition. Adam Smith

The furious behaviour of an angry man is more likely to exasperate us against himself than against his enemies. Adam Smith

Few More Adam Smith Quotes

The great secret of education is to direct vanity to proper objects. Adam Smith

Adam Smith quotes virtue

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

Humanity is the virtue of a woman, generosity that of a man. Adam Smith

All money is a matter of belief. Adam Smith

All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. Adam Smith

Hatred and anger are the greatest poison to the happiness of a good mind. Adam Smith

The learned ignore the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of the ideas of their imagination. Adam Smith

The poor man’s son, whom heaven has in its anger visited with ambition, goes beyond admiration of palaces to envy. He labours all his life to outdo his competitors, only to find the end that the rich are no happier than the poor in the things that really matter. Adam Smith

A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more; otherwise, it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation. Adam Smith

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation. Adam Smith

The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations. Adam Smith

To attempt to increase the wealth of any country, either by introducing or by detaining in it an unnecessary quantity of gold and silver, is as absurd as it would be to attempt to increase the good cheer of private families by obliging them to keep an unnecessary number of kitchen utensils. Adam Smith

It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased. Adam Smith

Adam Smith quotes know yourself

The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer. Adam Smith Read more inspirational quotes here.

Have you found any of the above Adam Smith Quotes helpful? Which one is the best quote to you by Adam Smith? To get more info about Adam Smith, you may visit this website.