Adam Smith (1723–90) studied under Francis Hutcheson at the University of Glasgow, befriended David Hume while lecturing on rhetoric and jurisprudence in Edinburgh, was elected Professor of Logic, Professor of Moral Philosophy, Vice-rector, and eventually Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, and, along with Hutcheson, Hume, and a few others, went on to become one of the chief figures of the astonishing period of learning known as the Scottish Enlightenment.
Since the nineteenth century, Smith's fame has largely rested on his Wealth of Nations, which must be considered one of the most important works of the millennium: its argument for free trade, its explanation of the price mechanism and the division of labor, its qualified defense of market economies, and its powerful criticisms of mercantilist economic theories are now standard fare in economics courses, not to mention the basis of a large portion of today's worldwide economic policy. And its account of human nature is now classic.
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