09 March 2012

He Said It: Adam Smith

An early statement of Adam Smith's nascent theory of unintended order, from a now lost manuscript Smith wrote at the age of 33:

"Man is generally considered by statesmen and projectors as the materials of a sort of political mechanics. Projectors disturb nature in the course of her operations in human affairs; and it requires no more than to let her alone, and give her fair play in the pursuit of her ends, that she may establish her own designs."

--Adam Smith (1755), quoted by Dugald Stewart in his Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LLD (1793), reprinted in Essays on Philosophical Subjects

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