Adam Smith Across Nations: Translations and Receptions of the Wealth of Nations

Oxford University Press UK (1998)
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Abstract

The materials collected in this volume all concern the translations of and receptions to Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in ten non-English-speaking countries. The Wealth of Nations provides the perfect basis for studying the international transmission of economic ideas as it is generally considered to be the foundation of modern political economy, and still continues to be read after more than two centuries. Its appeal crosses national, cultural, and ideological boundaries -- countries investigated here range from China to Sweden -- and its enduring popularity is indicated by its status as the most translated economics book in history. Adam Smith Across Nations includes numerous sections which will of invaluable assistance to any Smith researcher. As well as presenting reviews and analysis from each country from the 18th century to the present day, an appendix lists editions of The Wealth of Nations in 18 languages, enabling the reader to understand the speed and number of translations. Most importantly, an introductory overview synthesises current research on the economic ideological context in the individual countries when The Wealth of Nations was introduced, the motives behind its introduction, its immediate reception, and the nature of the objections to Smith's doctrines. Professor Lai concludes that Smith's impact outside English-speaking country was predominantly limited to the realm of ideas: few of his policy recommendations were put into practice.

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