Study Guide

The Wealth of Nations Education

By Adam Smith

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Adam Smith is a firm believer in education… especially when it comes to making a strong society. The more educated people you have, the more likely you are to have people who will come up with the next moneymaking inventions.

Those people will need other people to work for them, wages will go up, and the whole country will get wealthier. But if you're going to increase wealth, Smith states in The Wealth of Nations that you need to educate people in the right way. That's why he thinks it's important to tailor people's education to what the country needs. After all, if a certain type of work is in high demand, you're more likely to make money off of that work.

Questions About Education

  1. Do you think people would get a better education if schools were made private and opened to the free market? Why or why not?
  2. What does Adam Smith think of public schoolteachers? How could they be better motivated?
  3. What kinds of education are more useful than others, according to Smith? What are his examples?

Chew on This

In The Wealth of Nations, we learn that an economy will collapse if the government doesn't collect taxes to pay for universal education.

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith shows us that education would be much more efficient if it operated on the principles of supply and demand.

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