11 August 2011
Philip Salter reviews Eamonn's latest book The Condensed Wealth of Nations in City AM.
At over 950 pages long, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations is a book that only few have ever read. Yet contained within are thoughts that changed the course of the history.
The Condensed Wealth of Nations is Adam Smith Institute director Eamonn Butler’s answer to the conundrum of spreading the ideas of an author virtually nobody reads. It is neither biographical nor historical, but a distillation of Smith’s key thoughts in modern language – managing to condense his thoughts in less than ten per cent of the space.
Bouncing off other intellectuals in the hub of genius that was the Scottish and wider European enlightenment, Butler’s book shines a light on just how radical the founder of economics really was on the division of labour, the benefits of exchange and free trade.
Given that few will read the real the thing, Butler’s 84 pages are the best way to get a taste of a man whose ideas – both in economics and ethics – shed much light on the human condition and helped make the modern world.