- How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)
- Though our brother is on the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers…It is by imagination that we can form any conception of what are his sensations.
Theory of Moral Sentiments (2nd ed., 1762)
- It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
Wealth of Nations (1776) bk. 1, ch. 2
- People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Wealth of Nations (1776) bk. 1, ch. 10, pt. 2
- The chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.
Wealth of Nations (1776) bk. 1, ch. 11
- Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. He intends only his own gain, and he is, in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
Wealth of Nations
(1776) bk. 4, ch. 3; see Friedman
- To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.
- Consumption is the sole end and purpose of production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.
Wealth of Nations (1776) bk. 4, ch. 8
- The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of the masters.
Wealth of Nations (1776) bk. 5, ch. 1, pt. 3
- There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.
Wealth of Nations (1776) bk. 5, ch. 2