The Life of Adam Smith by Ian Simpson Ross

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Adam Smith (1723-1790) is perceived, through his best-known book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, as the founder of economics as a science. His thought has shaped modern ideas about the market economy and the role of the state in relation to it. Yet Smith needs to be recognized as more than this, as a man of letters, moralist, historian, and critic, as well as an economist, if we are to get full value for his ideas and perspectives in
contemporary applications.

Ian Simpson Ross is the biographer of Lord Kames, Smith's patron, and of the Scottish poet William Dunbar, and has edited, with E C Mossner, Smith's correspondence for the Glasgow edition of his works. In this, the first full-scale biography of Adam Smith for a hundred years, Ross brings his subject in to historical light as a thinker and author by examining his family circumstance, education, career, and social and intellectual circle, including David Hume and Francois Quesnay, revealed
through his correspondence, archival documents, the reports of contemporaries, and the record of his publications.

Readers will meet Smith as a student at a lively Glasgow and sleepy Oxford; freelance lecturer in rhetoric; innovative university teacher; tutor travelling abroad with a Duke; acclaimed political economist; policy advisor to governments during and after the American crisis; and finally, if paradoxically in view of his tenets, a Commissioner of Customs coping with the free traders in the smuggling business.

This is the life of a Scottish moral philosopher whose legacy of thought concerns and affects us all. Its lively and informed account will appeal to those interested in the social and intellectual milieu of the eighteenth century, and in scottish history. Economists and philosophers will find much to read about the history of their disciplines, supported by full documentation.

About Ian Simpson Ross

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About the Author: Ian Simpson Ross is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Lord Kames and the Scotland of His Day and William Dunbar and the co-editor of The Correspondence of Adam Smith, with E. C. Mossner.
Published October 19, 1995 by Clarendon Press. 524 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Travel, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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A principal virtue of this scholarly but animated and accessible biography of the Scottish polymath Adam Smith is that it puts paid to any notion Smith was either a single-issue crusader or an ivory-tower intellectual.

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Publishers Weekly

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Scottish economist Adam Smith, who laid the foundation of classical economics with his model of a competitive, self-regulating market, was described by contemporaries as having a harsh voice, huge teeth and a conversational style tantamount to lecturing.

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London Review of Books

1 · 4 January 1996 From George Houston As one of the Glasgow economists not involved in editing the Glasgow collection of Adam Smith’s works, perhaps I may be allowed to point out the absurdity of James Buchan’s comment that ‘to an extent all the editors of the Glasgow edition regard The Wealth...

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