On Adam Smith's digression appended to his chapter on bounties in the wealth of nations: A window onto his approach to political economy
Harvey-Phillips, M. B. (2011). On Adam Smith's digression appended to his chapter on bounties in the wealth of nations: A window onto his approach to political economy. History of Economics Review, 53, 10-24.
In this paper it is contended that the 'Digression Concerning The Corn Trade And Corn Laws' appended to Adam Smith's chapter 'Of Bounties' in The Wealth of Nations is an instructive illustration of the author's approach to economic analysis. It is shown how Smith analysed the market in its complexity and that such analysis provided a material insight into the market's operations over time. The passage of time is an integral part of the analysis and hence the 'Digression' also develops considerations of the significant role played by risk and expectations in both the domestic and international corn markets. It is further argued that the approach to economic analysis exhibited in the 'Digression' is entirely consistent with the scientific method Smith developed early in his career and held to its end.