In 1776, one man found himself at the center of a maelstrom. Hurricanes of change lashed the globe: growing markets, expanding international trade, a rising middle class, disruptive technologies, novel commercial entities. Yet, where his contemporaries saw chaos, Adam Smith saw hitherto unimagined possibilities.

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith envisioned with startling prescience a very different prosperity: one in which capitalists, not the mercantilists, aristocrats, and agrarians who had preceded them, held sway. Stop for a moment to consider the keenness of that insight. In 1776, horses provided power for carts and carriages. Steam-powered locomotives would not arrive until the next century. The economy’s central axis was households, ...

Get The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.