• Then and Now:
    Comparing Adam Smith's Time with Present Day

  • Paris Then & Now
    In Smith’s time, Paris was smaller, but still bustled. Now its buildings and impact are larger.
  • Sailors Rations Then & Now
    Sailors ate hard-tack in Smith’s time. Now they’re served fresh foods from all over the world thanks to refrigeration and open trade. Smith would approve.
  • Factories Then & Now
    Smith observed Specialization/Division of Labor in a pin factory. Today’s auto plants are even more specialized.
  • New York City Then & Now
    In the 1700’s, New York already was a place of trade and commerce. Now the buildings have grown, as has the amount of trade and commerce.
  • Too Big To Fail Then & Now
    The East India Tea Company was propped up by the British government in Smith’s time. Now we also see companies bailed out, something Smith disapproved of.
  • Life Expectancy Then & Now
    Though Smith lived 67 years, the average life expectancy then was only 35 years. Modern health care now gives us an average of 78 years.
  • United States Then & Now
    Smith was fascinated by the original 13 colonies. What would he think about today’s 50 United States?
  • Markets Then & Now
    Smith’s earliest observations were of a farmer’s market. Today’s supermarkets embody the same principles of buyers and sellers seeking their own best interests.
  • Military Then & Now
    The British spent vast amounts of money on their Navy (500 ships) in Smith’s day. Now the U.S. military budget is also large. ($615 billion in 2014)
  • Adam Smith Widely Read
    Smith’s books were originally widely read in Europe as well as the colonies. Now he’s read worldwide, including in China.