Adam Smith

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Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Known for his Wealth of Nations (1776), Scottish economist, Adam Smith held a professorship in logic, followed by a chair inmoral philosophy at Glasgow University. In his masterpiece ofpolitical economics, Smith contended that if people were permittedto pursue their own economic self-interests without governmentinterference, they would attain what is best for the society as awhole, as if led by an 'invisible hand'. This notion of theinvisible hand guiding economies, forms the basis of the concept oflaissez-faire. Smith was much admired even in his own times; at adinner, the Prime Minister invited him to be seated first since,'we are all your scholars.' He served as commissioner of customsand was lord rector of Glasgow University. Among his other workswere essays on the arts, linguistics, logic, classical physics, and astronomy.