Promodern economic history
Wealth of Nations (1776) excerpt
By Adam Smith
There are three orders in society - those who live by rent, by labour and by profits. Employers constitute the third order. . . The proposal of any new law by or regulation which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with the greatest precaution and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public. . .
Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit but constant and uniform combination not to raise the wages of workers. . . . Masters. . .sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the level of wages. . . These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy. . .
Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality, instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. . .
Perfect liberty can never happen if government heeds or is entrusted to the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers who neither are, nor ought to be the rulers of mankind.