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Adam Smith Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo are classical economists whose discoveries in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century made a great impact on economics to this day Adam Smith is considered by many to be the father of modern economics He is best known for his groundbreaking book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations published in 1776 In this book he described the workings of a market economy the division of labor in production the nature of wealth in relation to money the inability of governments to manage money and the difference between productive and nonproductive labor Smith believed that economic regulations from the government were pointless because the market would take care of itself The reason the market works is because there is competition between people looking out for their own best interests Competition results from supply and demand If there is a demand for an item there will be people willing to produce supply it and therefore make a profit to feed their own self-interest Competition is what regulates people from their self-interest keeping prices low and consumers coming back The law of the market not only regulates prices but the amount of items being produced as well as the incomes of those contributing to their production Fundamentally Adam Smith discovered in the mechanism of the market a self-regulating system which provides for societys orderly provision Heilbroner 49 Smith believed that the market had the ability to regulate itself and guide the system to its best advantage This works only if it was left alone the formation of monopolies or government control would inevitably destroy it Thomas Malthus another classical economist believed that if people are not first killed off by war famine or disease some must starve to death This is because the population rises much faster than the supply of food Bagby 168 Those which die of starvation will obviously
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