25 Mind Blowing Adam Smith Quotes

Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher. He pioneered the political economy and laid the foundations down for the theories of free market. As the writer of the acclaimed books, ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ and ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,’ Smith made an impact in the ideology of man and wealth. Here is a look at some of the most popular and long standing Adam Smith quotes ever recorded.

“Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”

“Every man lives by exchanging.”

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.”

“In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.”

“Individual Ambition Serves the Common Good.”

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”


“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

“Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this – no dog exchanges bones with another.”

“Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.”

“Never complain of that of which it is at all times in your power to rid yourself.”

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable.”

“Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. Nobody ever saw one animal by its gestures and natural cries signify to another, this is mine, that yours.”

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

“Problems worthy of attacks, prove their worth by hitting back.”

“Resentment seems to have been given us by nature for a defense, and for a defense only! It is the safeguard of justice and the security of innocence.”

“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”

“The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer.”

“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another.”

“The learned ignore the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of the ideas of their imagination.”

“The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.”

“Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.”

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”

“What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.”

“Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality… for one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor.”

“With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.”

Here is a documentary taking a look into the life of the real Adam Smith. With ideas that changed the world, Smith impacted both economic and ethical ways of doing business in a world market.