Wealth of Nations Study Questions (2)
Book III, ch. 1: On the Natural Progress of Opulence
what does opulence mean? What does it mean for opulence to have a natural progress? What would an
unnatural or artificial progress be?
What kind of commerce goes on between town and country? How is it mutually beneficial to each other?
In order for towns (urban areas) to grow, it must depend on the cultivation & improvements of
the country (rural areas).
Thus the rural area provides urban areas with raw materials to manufacture
Urban areas` manufactured goods then provide rural areas with everyday necessities
The farms benefit from the market of its nearest towns, the farm`s raw produce are more
competitive than the other farm`s produce which is located further away from the market. This is because
under the same competitive market price, the near farm has much less shipping expenses and wages
compared to the further farms, thus giving them more profits.
The gains of both sides are therefore mutual and reciprocal
Why must the country be cultivated before towns can increase?
The biggest factor contributing to a growing society is Agriculture (provided by rural areas)
Manufacturing (provided by urban areas) could then proceed once Agriculture is productive and in
Foreign Commerce (country) could then have goods to exchange which benefits the overall
Why does Smith believe that people naturally prefer farming to manufacturing and trading? Do you agree?
Farming offers more control, less risk, more secure, could be self-efficient if land is used to its full
Has a beautiful clean living environment in comparison to the dirty crowded city environment
I would agree with A.S if it is currently in the 1970s, however current society made city life much
better and much more efficient than the country side. I have easy access to everyday necessities and live in
a clean environment (depending on the city) and have more interaction with others whereas being
segregated in the countryside.
What is the natural course of things (bottom of page)? How have human institutions disturbed that?
The Natural Course of Things mean the invisible hand or in other words, freedom of the market
and self-interest on the part of individuals produces order and concord.
Harmony can be established under the guidance of the invisible hand while each individual
pursues his or her own best interests
The disturbance of Human Institutions caused delayed growth/ no-growth of towns thus leading
to delayed growth/ no-growth in cultivation of the land.
Why is manufacturing more secure than foreign investment? Under what conditions is foreign trade an
The capital of the merchant is more secure than the capital of the foreign merchant Under the conditions of insufficient cultivation and manufacture, Foreign trade merchant has an
advantage as they would not be effect by the shortage of goods supply and be self-efficient off of their own
What is the natural course of things? Why do nations naturally develop from agriculture, to manufacturing,
to foreign trading?
st nd rd
The natural course of things is 1 agriculture, manufacture, 3 foreign commerce
A nation would first acquire some land, then it would do some cultivation in order to feed its
people, then it would make some goods to make farming easier and life better for its people, then finally,
when they have become unsatisfied with the local produce, they would start trading with other nations, thus
the beginning of foreign trade.
In what way has this natural course been inverted in Europe, according to Smith? What forced European
nations into this inversion?
The government of European nations forced the natural course of things to be inverted in Europe.
They first had foreign commerce, then manufacture in order to sustain that foreign commerce,
thus they developed agriculture in order to sustain the manufacture with raw materials
Book III, chapter 2: Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the Ancient State of Europe after the
Fall of Rome.
p. 488: what is primogeniture? What are entails?
Primogeniture is the system by which property that is owned by a man goes to his oldest son
after his death
The arrangement of property for it to be given to a