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SMITH, Adam (1723-1790). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776.
SMITH, Adam (1723-1790). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776.

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SMITH, Adam (1723-1790). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776.

2 volumes, 4° (280 x 222mm). Half-title in volume II only as issued, with cancels M3, Q1 U3, 2Z3, 3A4 and 3O4 (misbound after U3) in vol. I and D1 and 3Z4 in vol. II, publisher's advertisements on verso of 4F2 in vol. II. (Clean tear to A3 in vol. I, light occasional scattered spots and stains.) Contemporary calf, spines with raised bands in six compartments, red morocco gilt lettering piece in second compartment, numbered in gilt on green morocco label in fourth compartment, yellow edges (extremities lightly rubbed, a few scuff marks, front hinge cracked in vol. I). Provenance: Johnston (ownership inscription dated 1858) -- unidentified armorial book label.

FIRST EDITION OF 'THE FIRST AND GREATEST CLASSIC OF MODERN ECONOMIC THOUGHT' (PMM). In his Wealth of Nations, Smith '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... it ends with a history of economic development, a definitive onslaught on the mercantile system, and some prophetic speculations on the limits of economic control... Where the political aspects of human rights had taken two centuries to explore, Smith's achievement was to bring the study of economic aspects to the same point in a single work' (PMM). Goldsmith 11392; Grolier English, 57; Kress 7621; PMM 221; Rothschild 1897. (2)

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