Definition of Economics by Adam Smith | Criticism on Adam Smith

Fri, 04/24/2009 - 20:25 -- Umar Farooq

Definition of Economics by Adam Smith

Definition of Economics by Adam smith (1723 – 1790) a Scottish Philosopher and founder of Economics wrote a book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” was published in 1776.  In the book Adam Smith defined economics as a Science of Wealth.  Some other economists like J.B Say, F.A Walker, J.S Mills and other also declared economics as a science of wealth.  According to J.B Say Economics is the science which treats wealth.  F.A Walker made it clear that economics is that body of knowledge which relates to wealth. This view of Economics narrating economics as a science of wealth was criticized by Carlyle, Ruskin and other economists of the 19th Century.

They were on the view the economics teaches selfishness and greediness. Furthermore it degrades human personality by ignoring human virtues and spiritual values and makes wealth the center of human life. Adam smith classified his books “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”into four divisions i.e. consumption, distribution, production and exchange of wealth.

Criticism on Adam Smith Definition of Economics

As Adam Smith declared economics as a Science of Wealth. Some economists of 19th Century criticized this definition. Firstly Carlyle and Ruskin declared it a “dismal and a pig science” which teaches selfishness. The main criticisms on the definition of Adam Smith are given in brief as under.

1. Too Much Importance to Wealth

Definition of Economics by Adam Smith gives primary importance to wealth and secondary to human being.

This emphasis has now shifted from wealth to human being. Man occupies primary place and wealth a secondary one. The real fact is that man is more important than study of wealth.

2. Narrow Meaning of Wealth


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