Born in 1723 in Kirkcaldy Scotland, Smith is widely recognized as the founding father of economics at an early age in Scotland, He learned Latin mathematics history and writing and at 14 he entered the University of Glasgow to study moral philosophy before beginning postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in England. Disenchanted with the quality of instruction however, Smith left Oxford in 1746, he worked for a time as a public lecturer before returning to the University of Glasgow as a professor where he eventually became the head of moral philosophy.
his lectures laid the foundation for his first published book “the Theory of Moral Sentiments” which elevated smith’s reputation both in Britain and Europe.
After 12 years in Glasgow, he resigned his professorship and toured Europe as a tutor for a young British aristocrat, he met many intellectuals including Voltaire and the economist Francois Kane of the French physiocrats who argued for fewer trade barriers and freer economies with less government regulation and lower taxes. His time in France was particularly important while Smith had already developed his own similar ideas, the physiocrats likely helped shape his economic views. When Smith returned to Kirk Audi in 1766, he was already a key figure of the Scottish enlightenment, a period of great intellectual accomplishment, Smith devoted the next 10 years to write his most renowned work “The Wealth of Nations” which explored why some countries prosper while others languish in poverty, published in 1776, it was an instant success selling out its first edition in just six months, and it remains one of the most important and influential scholarly writings of the last millennium.
In the days before he died, Smith asked his friends to burn his unpublished manuscripts all 16 volumes which likely explored the history of literature philosophy, poetry, and government as such except for some essays and lectures. We are left only with his two published books, which together comprise a towering achievement in the history of Western thought, they contain insights as relevant today as our world becomes increasingly integrated by trade finance and commerce.