Thursday, February 16, 2012

Adam Smith: "Propensity to Truck and Barter"

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith 1776 Book 1, Chapter 2, "Of the Principle which gives occasion to the Division of Labour"

[01] THIS division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.

[02] Whether this propensity be one of those original principles in human nature of which no further account can be given; or whether, as seems more probable, it be the necessary consequence of the faculties of reason and speech, it belongs not to our present subject to inquire. It is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know neither this nor any other species of contracts.

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