Adam Smith

Adam Smith

Smith, Adam, 1723-90, Scottish economist, educated at Glasgow and Oxford. He became professor of moral philosophy at the Univ. of Glasgow in 1752, and while teaching there wrote his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), which gave him the beginnings of an international reputation. He traveled on the Continent from 1764 to 1766 as tutor to the duke of Buccleuch and while in France met some of the physiocrats and began to write An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, finally published in 1776.

In that work, Smith postulated the theory of the division of labor and emphasized that value arises from the labor expended in the process of production. He was led by the rationalist current of the century, as well as by the more direct influence of Hume and others, to believe that in a laissez-faire economy the impulse of self-interest would bring about the public welfare; at the same time he was capable of appreciating that private groups such as manufacturers might at times oppose the public interest. Smith was opposed to monopolies and the concepts of mercantilism in general but admitted restrictions to free trade, such as the Navigation Acts, as sometimes necessary national economic weapons in the existing state of the world. He also accepted government intervention in the economy that reduced poverty and government regulation in support of workers.

Smith wrote before the Industrial Revolution was fully developed, and some of his theories were voided by its development, but as an analyst of institutions and an influence on later economists he has never been surpassed. His pragmatism, as well as the leaven of ethical content and social insight in his thought, differentiates him from the rigidity of David Ricardo and the school of early 19th-century utilitarianism. In 1778, Smith was appointed commissioner of customs for Scotland. His Essays on Philosophical Subjects (1795) appeared posthumously.

See biographies by J. Rae (1895, repr. 1965), I. S. Ross (1995), and J. Buchan (2006); studies by E. Ginzberg (1934, repr. 1964), T. D. Campbell (1971), S. Hollander (1973), and E. Rothschild (2001).

Patricia Jean "Patsy" Adam-Smith AO, OBE (May 31, 1924September 20, 2001) was an Australian author, historian and servicewoman. She was a prolific writer on a range of subjects covering 'history, folklore and the preservation of national traditions', and also wrote her autobiography in two parts. In addition to these autobiographies, her most notable works include The Anzacs (1978), Australian Women at War (1984) and Prisoners of War (1992).


Born as Patricia Jean Smith to railway workers, Adam-Smith grew up in a number of small Victorian country towns and was educated through correspondence school. She enlisted as a nursing VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) during the Second World War, serving from 17 March 1943 to 14 July 1944. Later, she was the first female to be articled as a radio officer when she worked on an Australian merchant ship from 1954-1960. She then lived in Hobart from 1960 to 1967 where she worked as an Adult Education Officer and, in 1970, she took the position of Manuscripts Field Officer for the State Library of Victoria, a job she did until 1982.

From 1976 to 2001, she was a Member of the Board of Directors for the Royal Humane Society Australasia, and from 1983 to 2001 she was a Committee Member of the Museum of Victoria. Her Order of Australia, awarded in 1994, was made in recognition of her service to community history, particularly through the preservation of national traditions and folklore and the recording of oral histories.

While her main study of and work in oral history was carried out in Australia, Ireland, England and the USA, her research, overall, took her to over 60 countries.

Literary career

Adam-Smith wrote on a wide range of subjects, but her deepest interest was Australian raliways.. She contributed actively to Australia's literary community, and in 1973 she was State President of Australian Writers in Victoria and the Federal President of the Fellowship of Australian Writers.

In 1978 her book The Anzacs shared The Age Book of the Year Award and was made into a 13 part TV series.

Her autobiography was published in two parts: Hear The Train Blow and the award-winning Good-bye Girlie.



  • Hear the Train Blow: An Australian Childhood, Ure Smith, 1964
  • Moonbird People, Rigby, 1965
  • There was a Ship, Rigby, 1967
  • Hobart Sketchbook (with drawing by Max Angus), Rigby, 1968
  • Tiger Country, Rigby, 1968
  • The Rails Go Westward, Macmillan of Australia, 1969
  • Folklore of the Australian Railwaymen (collected and edited), Macmillan of Australia, 1969
  • No Tribesman, Rigby, 1971
  • Across Australia by Indian-Pacific, Thomas Nelson, c1971
  • The Barcoo Salute, Rigby, 1973
  • Launceston Sketchbook (with drawing by Arthur Phillips), Rigby, 1973
  • Romance of Australian Railways, Rigby, 1973
  • The Desert Railway, Rigby, 1974
  • Neon Signs to the Mutes: Poetry by Young Australians (ed. with Michael Dugan and J.S. Hamilton), Fellowship of Australian Writers and BHP,1976
  • Footloose in Australia, Rigby, 1977
  • Historic Tasmania Sketchbook (with text by Joan Woodberry, and drawings by Max Angus, Frank Mather and Arthur Phillips), Rigby, 1977
  • Port Arthur Sketchbook (with drawings by Arthur Phillips), Rigby, 1977
  • Tasmania Sketchbook (with drawing by Max Angus), Rigby, Adelaide, 1977
  • Trader to the Islanders (originally published as There was a Ship), Rigby, 1977
  • The ANZACS, Thomas Nelson (Australia), 1978
  • Islands of Bass Strait (with photographs by John Powell), Rigby, 1978
  • Victorian and Edwardian Melbourne from Old Photographs, John Ferguson, 1979
  • Romance of Victorian railways, Rigby, 1980
  • Hear the Train Blow: Patsy Adam-Smith's Classic Autobiography of Growing Up in the Bush, Nelson, 1981
  • Outback Heroes, Lansdowne Press, 1981
  • The Shearers, Nelson, 1982
  • When We Rode the Rails, Lansdowne, 1983
  • Australian Women at War, Nelson, 1984
  • Heart of Exile: Ireland, 1848, and the Seven Patriots Banished…, Nelson, 1986
  • Australia: Beyond the Dream-time, William Heinemann Australia, 1987
  • Prisoners of War, Viking,1992
  • Trains of Australia: All Aboard, Australia Post, c1993,
  • Goodbye Girlie, Viking, 1994



[[Category:Officers of the Order of the British Empire

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