Adam Smith is often considered the father of economics. Much of what is considered the standard of market theory was written by him over the course of two books, the "Theory of Moral Sentiments" and "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations."
In Smith's first book, he developed a general system of morals, including the notion that "individual freedom is rooted in self-reliance." His next book was broken down into five separate books and is considered to be the first modern work in the field of economics. Using finely detailed examples, Smith hoped to reveal exactly what caused nations to prosper. Through this examination he developed a critique of the economic system, specifically mercantilism and the concept of the Invisible Hand, which implies that the success of an individual indirectly benefits society as a whole.