On Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and the Continental (French), Intellectual Connection: There Was a Small, Intellectual Connection
28 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2015 Last revised: 16 Dec 2015
Date Written: November 25, 2015
The common view among economists is that Adam Smith’s technical and economic analysis in the Wealth of Nations (1776) was not original and/or had been borrowed, much without proper credit or citation being made to the original authors. Smith’s contribution was taking the works of others and integrating it into a systematic whole. This claim is demonstrated to be false.
Much of Adam Smith’s work in the Wealth of Nations was highly original and creative. Smith’s work on decision theory, interval valued probability, the uncertainty versus risk divide, and his understanding of who the primary contributors were to the problems of deflation and inflation in the macro economy placed him at least 150 years ahead of any of his contemporaries. It was left to John Maynard Keynes and Joseph Schumpeter to equal and surpass Adam Smith’s contributions to economic theory and decision theory.
Keywords: uncertainty, decision making, nonlinear risk, indeterminate probability
JEL Classification: B10, B12, B20, B22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation