The wealth of nations


Subject selected and proposed outline is to be submitted in writing (Your paper should be 10 pages typed double spaced pages and should include correctly noted references. While research on the Internet is encouraged, plagiarism is not allowed.

Your paper will be graded as follows:

1)    Logic and clarity of your argument
2)    Thoroughness’ of your research
3)    Spelling, correct notation and neatness


In 1776 Adam Smith wrote in his book “The Wealth of Nations”:

“As every individual, thus, endeavors as much as he can both to use his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce might be of the greatest value; every individual essentially labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He commonly, indeed, neither intends to encourage the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and through directing that industry in such a way as its produce might be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to encourage an end that was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently encourages that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to encourage it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not extremely common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it. “

He suggests that the choices individuals create in their self-interest result in promoting the social interest. Since then several Nobel Prizes have been awarded to economists who have worked on the question including Ken Arrow, John Hicks, and Gerard Debreu, and John Nash of “Beautiful Mind” fame.

Under what situation, if any, do you believe that the pursuit of self- interest can encourage outcomes which are good for the group as a whole?

Address your subject within the context of What, How and For Whom?

Your subject choice should be based on relatively current real events. Some probable subject categories are as follows, but your group should choose a specific situation within these categories (or others) to keep the paper narrow and focused.

1)    Globalization
2)    Information Age Economy
3)    Environment
4)    Financial and Economic Stability

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Macroeconomics: The wealth of nations
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