The 16th of June, 2018, marks 295 years since the birth of Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. Best known for two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations, he is considered a pioneer of political economy and one of the chief figures of the Scottish Enlightenment period. With concerns that went beyond economy, he wanted to understand how the money system and capitalism worked so that a nation and its people could be prosperous and happy.
To celebrate the birthday of the great thinker whose works have laid the foundation of modern economics, we have created the Adam Smith Timeline, which illustrates some of the most important events and achievements in his life.
Born in Kirkcaldy, young Adam was encouraged by his mother to pursue his scholarly ambitions and proved to be a hardworking student. Soon after graduating from the University of Glasgow, he became an academic philosopher, lecturing on logic and aesthetics. His first work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, was published in 1759 and dealt with how human morality relied on what he called mutual sympathy, a term best translated today by the concept of empathy. Upon publication, the book brought Smith so much praise and popularity that numerous wealthy students from other countries left their schools and came to Glasgow to study under his guidance.
His second published work, The Wealth of Nations, reflected upon the economics of the Industrial Revolution and developed important concepts such as free markets, the division of labor, and productivity. Offering one of the world’s first structured analyses of what builds a nation’s wealth, it served as the basis for the now classical free market theory and is the second most cited book in the social sciences written before 1950.
Through his thorough work and innovating ideas, Adam Smith has become a solid guide to a pressing dilemma of modern times, namely how to make a capitalist economy more humane and more meaningful.
The Adam Smith chronology was designed with Office Timeline, a simple to use plugin for PowerPoint that enables the fast creation of impressive timelines, Gantt charts and other project visuals. The visual is free to copy and share, and can be easily updated or restyled using the free 14-day trial of the tool.
Download the Adam Smith Timeline for PowerPoint here.