Saturday, November 24, 2007

Five best books: the spirit of Scotland

Alex Salmond, a former economist for the Royal Bank of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish National Party, named a five best list of books "that reflect the spirit of his native land" for Opinion Journal.

Number One on the list:
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776).

With its espousal of freedom, industry and self-determination, "The Wealth of Nations" is considered a founding document of the Scottish Enlightenment, which deeply influenced the great political and philosophical movements of the modern era. I prefer to think of Adam Smith's seminal work as an economist's treasure trove. I have spent countless hours delving into its arguments about taxation, trade, public works and the division of labor, pausing for classic passages such as: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
Read Salmond's full list.

--Marshal Zeringue