Adam Smith ♥ High Wages

The Wealth of Nations:

The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as it is the effect of increasing wealth, so it is the cause of increasing population. To complain of it, is to lament over the necessary effect and cause of the greatest public prosperity.

The liberal reward of labour, as it encourages the propagation, so it increases the industry of the common people. The wages of labour are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives….Where wages are high, accordingly, we shall always find the workmen more active, diligent, and expeditious, than where they are low.”


  1. Paul Rosenberg (@PaulHRosenberg) November 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm | #

    There you go again! Reading Adam Smith, instead of worshiping him.

  2. robgehrke November 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm | #

    The real Adam Smith is significantly more interesting than the fake Adam Smith.

  3. Alto Berto (@AltoBerto) November 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm | #

    Smith was much more pro labor than people realize. He pointed out (I’ll grab the quote later) that a wage too low for a man to support a family, and not merely himself, robs the wealth of not just the man but also that of the nation.

    Another good quote:

    “Perfect liberty can never happen if government heeds or is entrusted to the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers who neither are nor ought to be the rulers of mankind.”

  4. S6vOb4TK November 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm | #

    In a society of an hundred thousand families, there will perhaps be one hundred who don’t labour at all, and who yet, either by violence, or by the more orderly oppression of law, employ a greater part of the labour of society than any other ten thousand in it. The division of what remains, too, after this enormous defalcation, is by no means made in proportion to the labour of each individual. On the contrary those who labour most get least. The opulent merchant, who spends a great part of his time in luxury and entertainments, enjoys a much greater proportion of the profits of his traffic, than all the Clerks and Accountants who do the business. These last, again, enjoying a great deal of leisure, and suffering scarce any other hardship besides the confinement of attendance, enjoy a much greater share of the produce, than three times an equal number of artisans, who, under their direction, labour much more severely and assiduously. The artisan again, tho’ he works generally under cover, protected from the injuries of the weather, at his ease and assisted by the convenience of innumerable machines, enjoys a much greater share than the poor labourer who has the soil and the seasons to struggle with, and, who while he affords the materials for supplying the luxury of all the other members of the common wealth, and bears, as it were, upon his shoulders the whole fabric of human society, seems himself to be buried out of sight in the lowest foundations of the building. — Adam Smith, first draft of Wealth Of Nations

  5. gigiistheone December 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm | #

    Reblogged this on Random Thinking and commented:
    Corey Robin is consistently good for tickling the brain!!

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