Study Guide

The Wealth of Nations Warfare

By Adam Smith

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Even though he believes in a world of free trade, Adam Smith knows that war will always be a part of human existence. After all, some countries will always be richer than others, and that's bound to create some jealousy on the poorer end of things.

Or worse yet, some rich countries might want to get even richer, so they beat up on poorer countries to suck their wealth dry. In either case, Smith states in The Wealth of Nations that it's the responsibility of a government to provide its people with the best possible opportunity to live freely and to build wealth.

Questions About Warfare

  1. Do you think war will always be a part of international politics? Why or why not?
  2. Does Adam Smith think war is good or bad for an economy? Why?
  3. According to Smith, how did people protect themselves from war after the fall of the Roman Empire? What was its impact on modern economies?

Chew on This

In The Wealth of Nations, we find that war tends to crush economies by plunging governments into debt.

The Wealth of Nations shows us that war can be good for an economy if it increases people's productivity.

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