Adam Smith on power and maritime trade

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is often interpreted as an explanation of the self-regulating nature of the market system, where an "invisible hand" leads to a harmonious coordination of different economic agents' pursuit of self- interest, so that economic development is brought about naturally through the division of labor. However, a closer reading of Smith's contribution shows that he saw the expansion of the market as a process typically driven by military and political power. For Smith, cases of a natural and spontaneous growth of industry occur only due to exceptional circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-56
Number of pages19
JournalMediterranean Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Atlantic colonies
  • Conduct
  • Mediterranean colonies
  • Power
  • Smith
  • Surplus
  • Trade


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