Simple Wealth of Nations 4-5

Books 1 to 3

In order to easily navigate the Wealth of Nations, here is an outline or map of the important ideas that are in each sentence and paragraph. Unlike other summaries which just get the most prominent idea in a paragraph, this version extracts each idea from each sentence and summarizes all similar ideas into a new sentence. A paragraph which has many ideas and supporting ideas imbued in it will therefore have many sentences.

This outline will help transform The Wealth of Nations into a manual for socio-economic science, just like when a mechanic consults a car’s service manual when troubleshooting a car. This manual can address both simple and complex questions about socio-economics, especially useful during future socio-economic crises.

Please click on each of the sections of Books 4-5 below:

Simplification Notes:

  • Quotes in green text are profound statements by Adam Smith
  • Quotes in bold green text are direct maxims. A sentence is treated as a maxim if a thought is repeated by Smith with authority (such as his definition of real value) and if Smith indicates it as such (“It may be treated as a maxim that..”).
  • Lines in bold green italics are maxims derived from Smith which are re-worded
  • Lines in bold black are subheadings for a series of paragraphs about a certain idea


Book IV: Of Systems Of Political Œconomy


Chap 1: Of The Principle Of The Commercial Or Mercantile System

Chap 1b:

  • Metal Money Supply

Chap 1c:

  • International Trade

Chap 2a: Of Restraints Upon The Importation From Foreign Countries Of Such Goods As Can Be Produced At Home

  • Import Restraints


  • Retaliatory Restraints

Chap. 2c:

  • Restoring Trade

Chap. 3a:Of The Extraordinary Restraints Upon The Importation Of Goods Of Almost All Kinds, From Those Countries With Which The Balance Is Supposed To Be Disadvantageous.Part 1: Of The Unreasonableness Of Those Restraints Even Upon The Principles Of The Commercial System

  • Extraordinary Restraints

Chap 3b:Digression Concerning Banks Of Deposit, Particularly Concerning That Of Amsterdam

Chap 3c:  Part 2: Of The Unreasonableness Of Those Extraordinary Restraints Upon Other Principles

Chap 4: Of Drawbacks

Chap 5a: Of Bounties

Chap. 5b: 

Chap. 5c: Digression Concerning The Corn Trade And Corn Laws

Chap. 5d: 

Chap. 5e:

Chap 6a: Of Treaties Of Commerce. Articles I, II, III

Chap. 6b:

Chap 7: Of Colonies: Part I: Of The Motives For Establishing New Colonies

Chap 7b: Part 2: Causes Of The Prosperity Of New Colonies

Chap. 7c: 

Chap. 7d:

Chap. 7e: 

Chap. 7f: Part 3: Of The Advantages Which Europe Has Derived From The Discovery Of America, And From That Of A Passage To The East Indies By The Cape Of Good Hope

Chap. 7g:

Chap. 7h:

Chap. 7i:

Chap. 7j:

Chap 8: Conclusion Of The Mercantile System

Chap. 8b:

Chap. 8c

Chap 9: Of The Agricultural Systems, Or Of Those Systems Of Political Œconomy, Which Represent The Produce Of Land As Either The Sole Or The Principal Source Of The Revenue And Wealth Of Every Country

Chap. 9b:

Chap. 9c:


Book V: Of The Revenue Of The Sovereign Or Commonwealth

Chap 1: Of The Expences Of The Sovereign Or Commonwealth: Part 1: Of The Expence Of Defence

Chap 1b:

  • Armies and militia

Chap 1c Part 2: Of The Expence Of Justice

Chap 1d: Part 3: Of The Expence Of Public Works And Public Institutions: – Article 1: Of The Public Works And Institutions For Facilitating The Commerce Of The Society And, First, Of Those Which Are Necessary For Facilitating Commerce In General

Chap. 1e: Of The Public Works And Institutions Which Are Necessary For Facilitating Particular Branches Of Commerce

Chap. 1f: Article 2: Of The Expence Of The Institutions For The Education Of Youth

Chap 1g: Article 3: Of The Expence Of The Institutions For The Instruction Of People Of All Ages

Chap 1h: Part 4: Of The Expence Of Supporting The Dignity Of The Sovereign: Conclusion

Chap 2: Of The Sources Of The General Or Public Revenue Of The Society: Part 1: Of The Funds Or Sources Of Revenue Which May Peculiarly Belong To The Sovereign Or Commonwealth

Chap. 2b: Part 2: Of Taxes

Chap. 2c: – Article 1: Taxes Upon Rent. Taxes Upon The Rent Of Land, — Taxes Which Are Proportioned, Not To The Rent, But To The Produce Of Land, Taxes Upon The Rent Of Houses

Chap 2d: Article 2: Taxes Upon Profit, Or Upon The Revenue Arising From Stock

Chap 2e: Taxes Upon The Profit Of Particular Employments

Chap 2f: — Appendix To Articles I And Ii Taxes Upon The Capital Value Of Land, Houses, And Stock

Chap. 2g: Article 3: Taxes Upon The Wages Of Labour, Article 4: Taxes Which, It Is Intended, Should Fall Indifferently Upon Every Different Species Of Revenue, – Capitation Taxes

Chap. 2h: Taxes Upon Consumable Commodities

Chap. 2i: 

Chap. 2j:

Chap. 2k:

Chapter 3: Of Public Debts

Chap. 3b:

Chap. 3c:

Chap. 3d

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