Yes, there was free-market thought before Adam Smith, but before this huge volume (700+ pages!), the comments, essays, and books were scattered in so many directions, you had to research and write a dissertation in order to be exposed to it all.
This volume, however, has given advocates of the commercial society a priceless gift: it has collected the best of the best of early economic thought, and thereby has rooted economics in the broadest range of history dating back centuries before the Industrial Revolution.
The collection reminds us too that the economic issues of our day are not unique to our times. They were debated and discussed far back in time, and with precision, wit, and surprising insight.
Represented here are: William Walwyn, Pieter de la Court, Josiah Cilde, Pierre Nicole, Nicholas Barbon, Dudley North, Andrew Fletcher, John Trenchard, Bernard Mandeville, Daniel Defoe, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Jean-François Saint-Lambert, Ferdinando Galiani, Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, among many other thinkers both famed and unfamiliar.
It is an essential volume for understanding the intellectual history before the Austrian and Classical Schools, and a rich source of wisdom and quotations.
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Austrian Economics, Freedom and Peace