Irkutsk  State University

                              Sociology Faculty

                                 ADAM SMITH

  Student: Poleh Andrew
  Group: 15131

                                Irkutsk 1999

                                 Early Life

The exact date of Smith’s birthday is unknown, it  is reputed  that  he  was
born on June 5, 1723, in Kikcaldy, a small (population 1,500)  village  near
Edinburgh. Of  Smith’s  childhood  nothing  is  known  other  than  that  he
received his elementary schooling in Kirkcaldy.
At the age of 14, in 1737, Smith entered the university of  Glasgow.  There,
he was deeply influenced by Francis Hutcheson, a famous professor  of  moral
philosophy. In 1740, Smith won a scholarship and travelled on  horseback  to
Oxford, where he stayed at Balliol College. In that time Oxford was  one  of
the bigger education centers in Great Britain. His years  there  were  spent
largely in self-education, from which  Smith  obtained  both  classical  and
contemporary philosophy.
Returning to his home after an absence of six years, Smith  cast  about  for
suitable employment. The connections of his mother’s family,  together  with
the support of the jurist and philosopher Lord Henry Kames, resulted  in  an
opportunity to give a series of public lectures in Edinburgh.

The lectures, which ranged over a wide variety  of  subjects  from  rhetoric
history and economics, made a deep impression on  some  of  Smith’s  notable
contemporaries. They also had a marked influence on Smith’s own career.   In
1751, at the age of 27, he was appointed  professor  of  logic  at  Glasgow,
from  which  post  he  transferred  in  1752  to   the   more   remunerative
professorship of moral philosophy,  a  subject  that  embraced  the  related
fields of natural theology, ethics, jurisprudence, and political economy.


During the week he lectured daily from 7:00 to  8:00  am  and  again  thrice
weekly from 11 am to noon, to classes of up to 90 students, at  the  age  of
about sixteen years. Afternoons were occupied  with  university  affairs  in
which Smith played an active role, being elected dean of  faculty  in  1758;
his evenings were spent in the stimulating company of Glasgow society.
Among his friends were not only members of the aristocracy,  many  connected
with the government,  but  also  a  range  of  intellectual  and  scientific
figures that included Joseph Black, a pioneer in  the  field  of  chemistry,
James Watt, one of the best engineer of that days and many others.

                       The Theory of Moral Sentiments

In 1759 Smith Published his first work, The Theory of Moral  Sentiments.  In
it Smith  with   other  leading  philosophers  of  his  time  described  the
principles of “human nature “. He wrote in his Moral Sentiments  the  famous
observation that he was to repeat later in The Wealth of Nations: that self-
seeking men are often “led by an invisible  hand...  without  knowing  it  ,
without intending it, to advance the interest of the society.”

                          Travels on the Continent

The Theory quickly brought Smith wide esteem and  in  particular   attention
of many famous people. Smith resigned his Glasgow post in 1763 and  set  off
for France. In France he lived about  18  months.  After  that  he  went  to
Geneva, and worked there.  After Geneva  he  returned  to  London   were  he
worked  until the spring of 1767. In that   period he was elected  a  fellow
of the Royal Society. His intellectual circle included Edmund Burke,  Samuel
Johnson, Edward Gibbon, and perhaps Benjamin Franklin.  Late  that  year  he
returned to Kirkcaldy, where the next six years  were  spent  dictating  and
reworking The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776 in London.

 The Wealth of Nations (Исследование о природе и причинах богатства народа)
                            and economic growth.

It was the first great work in political economy. The Wealth of  Nations  is
in fact a continuation of the philosophical theme begun  in  The  Theory  of
Moral Sentiments.

Smith’s analysis   of  the  market  as  a  self-  correcting  mechanism  was
impressive. But his purpose was more ambitious than to demonstrate the self-
adjusting properties of the system. Rather, it was to show that,  under  the
impetus of the acquisitive drive, the annual flow of national  wealth  could
be seen steadily to grow. Smith’s explanation of economic growth ,  although
not neatly assembled in one part of The  Wealth  of  Nations.  It  is  quite

The Wealth of Nations was received  many grants. It was the success.
Smith was therefore quite well off in the final years  of  his  life,  which
were spent mainly in Edinburgh with occasional trips to  London  or  Glasgow
(which appointed him a rector of the university). Smith never  married,  and
almost nothing is known of his personal side.  On July 17, 1790, at the  age
of 67, full of honours and recognition, Smith died; he  was  buried  in  the
churchyard  in his native village with a simple monument stating  that  Adam
Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, was buried there.

John Rae. “Life of Adam Smith” 1985
William Scott. “Adam Smith as Student and Professor” 1987
Andrew S. Skinner. “Essays on Adam Smith” 1988