Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 10a, Part 1: Profit and wage inequality from the nature of the job or business itself -- Constancy & Trust

Chapter 10b, Part 1: Profit and wage inequality in different Occupations and Businesses -- Constancy & Trust

  1. 14   Wages vary with the constancy or inconstancy of employment.
  2. 15"Employment is much more constant in some trades than in others."

16 A house carpenter has a nicer and more ingenious trade than a mason, but not in most places. 17 When the trades which usually afford constant employment do not bring constant employment, the wages in those trades are always higher than the wages of common labour. 18 When the inconstancy of employment is combined with the hardship, disagreeableness, and dirtiness of the work, it sometimes raises the wages of  common labour above the wages of the most skilful artificers.

19The constancy or inconstancy of employment cannot affect ordinary profits of any business.


  1. 20 Wages vary according to the trust reposed in the workers.
21 The wages of goldsmiths and jewellers are superior to other workmen because of the precious materials with which they are entrusted. 22 We trust our health to the physician. 23 When a person employs his own stock, there is no trust


  1. 24 Wages vary according to the probability or improbability of success.
25 The probability that any person will be employed in the occupation he was educated for is very different in different occupations. 26 Despite these discouragements, the most generous and liberal people are eager to crowd into them because of:
  1. The reputation attached to the superior excellence in them
  2. The natural confidence which people have in their own abilities and good fortune.
27 To excel in any profession is the most decisive mark of genius or superior talents. 28 There are some beautiful talents which commands admiration but when used for private gain is considered as a sort of public prostitution.

29 The over-weening conceit which most people have of their own abilities, is an ancient evil remarked by philosophers and moralists of all ages.

30 The universal success of lotteries proves that the chance of gain is naturally over-valued.
A lottery ticket, 1814
A lottery ticket, 1814

Words: 1446
Next: Chapter 10c: Risk