The Wealth of Nations

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Adam Smith's celebrated economic treatise The Wealth of Nations. Smith was one of Scotland's greatest thinkers, a moral philosopher and pioneer of economic theory whose 1776 masterpiece has come to define classical economics. Based on his careful consideration of the transformation wrought on the British economy by the Industrial Revolution, and how it contrasted with marketplaces elsewhere in the world, the book outlined a theory of wealth and how it is accumulated that has arguably had more influence on economic theory than any other.


Richard Whatmore
Professor of Modern History and Director of the Institute of Intellectual History at the University of St Andrews

Donald Winch
Emeritus Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex

Helen Paul
Lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of Southampton

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 19 Feb 2015 21:30

Related topics


Reading List

Alexander Broadie (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2003) 

Daniel Carey (ed.), Money and Political Economy in the Age of Enlightenment (Voltaire Foundation, 2014)

Stephen Copley and Kathryn Sutherland (eds.), Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: New Interdisciplinary Essays (Manchester University Press, 1995)

Knud Haakonssen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Knud Haakonssen, The Science of a Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith (Cambridge University Press, 1989)

Istvan Hont, Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective (Harvard University Press, 2010)

Istvan Hont, Politics in Commercial Society: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Gavin Kennedy, Adam Smith: A Moral Philosopher and His Political Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

Nicholas Phillipson, Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life (Penguin, 2011)

D. D. Raphael, Adam Smith (Oxford Paperbacks, 1985)

Eric Roll, A History of Economic Thought (Faber & Faber, 1992)       

Joseph Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis (Oxford University Press, 1996)

Richard B. Sher, The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and their Publishers in Eighteenth-century Britain, Ireland and America (University of Chicago Press, 2007)

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (First published 1776; Bantam Classics, 2003)

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations Books I-III (First published 1776; Penguin Classics, 1982)

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (First published 1759; Penguin Classics, 2010)

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (First published 1759; Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Donald Winch, Adam Smith’s Politics: An Essay in Historiographic Revision (Cambridge University Press, 1978)

Donald Winch, Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain 1750–1834 (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Useful Websites

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – Adam Smith

Online Library of Liberty – Adam Smith

Wikipedia - Adam Smith

National Portrait Gallery – Portraits of Adam Smith

British Library - The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Project Gutenberg – text of The Wealth of Nations

Project Gutenberg - text of The Theory of Moral Sentiments


Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestRichard Whatmore
Interviewed GuestDonald Winch
Interviewed GuestHelen Paul
ProducerThomas Morris

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