An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Volume 1
This book, published in 1776, analyzes the major elements of political economy such as market pricing, division of labor, and government policies. The author presents seminal arguments for free trade, free markets, and limited government. He criticizes mercantilists who use the state to increase their nations' supply of precious metals and emphasizes that a nation's wealth should be measured by the well-being of its people. The author argues that prosperity requires voluntary exchange of goods in a peaceful market and should be maintained by upholding social standards of decency, honesty, and virtue while limiting government interference in production and exchange.