'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,' said Adam Smith, who is also called the father of modern economics, in the eighteenth century. Smith is famous for his classic work The Wealth of Nations. Smith understood back then what we all know now quite instinctively: self-interest drives the world. It's from the fulfillment of self-interest that charity and philanthropy arise. This one quote from him isn't the only one that made a deep point while being so simple and interesting. Smith, in spite of being an economist, had the reputation of being witty and direct.
Here are some more interesting quotes from him:
- Labour was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.
- The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations.
- What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
- No complaint... is more common than that of a scarcity of money.
- The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.
- All money is a matter of belief.
- Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
- It is not for its own sake that men desire money, but for the sake of what they can purchase with it.