Anything That’s Peaceful: The Case for the Free Market

Review provided by The Mises Institute Leonard Read was a great spokesman for liberty, and an excellent teacher in the second half of the 20th century. Everyone agrees that this is his most inspired collection. It includes the essay later called “I, Pencil,” which is a masterful description of the workings of the division of […]

The Man of System

Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments included this short passage on two distinct ways of seeing the world: the natural and harmonious view of spontaneous order and the “man of the system,” who sees society as something he can manipulate and mold “ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.” The man whose […]

Justice and Beneficence

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first book, he explored human motivation and morality—with conclusions that contradict the common but unfair characterization of him as a cold-hearted economist. In this excerpt, Smith explains why benevolence is desirable but justice is essential not just to to civil society but also to how we measure our behavior […]

The Division of Labor

In this selection from the opening pages of An Inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Smith explores the significance of the division of labor using his famous example of the pin factory where specialization lets the employees radically increase their production. The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, […]