people in what manner they ought to employ 
their capitals, would not only load himself 
with a most unnecessary attention, but assume 
an authority which could safely be trusted, 
not only to no single person, but to no 
council or senate whatever, and which would 
nowhere be as dangerous as in the hands of a 
man who had folly and presumption enough 
to fancy himself fit to exercise it. 
To give the monopoly of the home market 
to the produce of domestic industry, in any 
particular art or manufacture, is in some measure 
to direct private people in what manner 
they ought to employ their capitals, and must 
in almost all cases be either a useless or a 
hurtful regulation. If the produce of domestic 
can be brought there as cheap as that of 
foreign industry, the regulation is evidently 
useless. If it cannot, it must generally be 
hurtful. It is the maxim of every prudent 
master of a family, never to attempt to make 
at home what it will cost him more to make 
than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to 
make his own shoes, but buys them of the 
shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt 
to make his own clothes, but employs a tailor. 
The farmer attempts to make neither the one 
nor the other, but employs those different artificers
All of them find it for their interest 
to employ their whole industry in a way in 
which they have some advantage over their 
neighbours, and to purchase with a part of its 
produce, or, what is the same thing, with the 
price of a part of it, whatever else they have 
occasion for. 
What is prudence in the conduct of every 
private family, can scarce be folly in that of a 
great kingdom. If a foreign country can 
supply us with a commodity cheaper than we 
ourselves can make it, better buy it of them 
with some part of the produce of our own industry
employed in a way in which we have 
some advantage. The general industry of 
the country being always in proportion to the 
capital which employs it, will not thereby be 
diminished, no more than that of the above-mentioned 
artificers; but only left to find out 
the way in which it can be employed with the 
greatest advantage. It is certainly not employed 
to the greatest advantage, when it is 
thus directed towards an object which it can 
buy cheaper than it can make. The value of 
its annual produce is certainly more or less diminished, 
when it is thus turned away from 
producing commodities evidently of more value 
than the commodity which it is directed to 
produce. According to the supposition, that 
commodity could be purchased from foreign 
countries cheaper than it can be made at home
it could therefore have been purchased with a 
part only of the commodities, or, what is the 
same thing, with a part only of the price of 
the commodities, which the industry employed 
by an equal capital would have produced 
at home, had it been left to follow its natural 
course. The industry of the country, therefore, 
is thus turned away from a more to a less 
advantageous employment; and the exchangeable 
value of its annual produce, instead of 
being increased, according to the intention of 
the lawgiver, must necessarily be diminished 
by every such regulation
By means of such regulations, indeed, a 
particular manufacture may sometimes be acquired 
sooner than it could have been otherwise, 
and after a certain time may be made at 
home as cheap, or cheaper, than in the foreign 
country. But though the industry of the society 
may be thus carried with advantage into 
a particular channel sooner than it could have 
been otherwise, it will by no means follow that 
the sum-total, either of its industry, or of its 
revenue, can ever be augmented by any such 
regulation. The industry of the society can 
augment only in proportion as its capital augments
and its capital can augment only in 
proportion to what can be gradually saved 
out of its revenue. But the immediate effect 
of every such regulation is to diminish its revenue
and what diminishes its revenue is 
certainly not very likely to augment its capital 
faster than it would have augmented of its 
own accord, had both capital and industry been 
left to find out their natural employments
Though, for want of such regulations, the 
society should never acquire the proposed manufacture, 
it would not upon that account necessarily 
be the poorer in any one period of its 
duration. In every period of its duration its 
whole capital and industry might still have 
been employed, though upon different objects
in the manner that was most advantageous at 
the time. In every period its revenue might 
have been the greatest which its capital could 
afford, and both capital and revenue might 
have been augmented with the greatest possible 
The natural advantages which one country 
has over another, in producing particular commodities
are sometimes so great, that it is acknowledged 
by all the world to be in vain to 
struggle with them. By means of glasses
hot-beds, and hot-walls, very good grapes can 
be raised in Scotland, and very good wine, too, 
be made of them, at about thirty times the 
expense for which at least equally good can be 
brought from foreign countries. Would it be 
a reasonable law to prohibit the importation of 
all foreign wines, merely to encourage the 
making of claret and Burgundy in Scotland
But if there would be a manifest absurdity in 
turning towards any employment thirty times 
more of the capital and industry of the country 
than would be necessary to purchase from 
foreign countries an equal quantity of the 
commodities wanted, there must be an absurdity
though not altogether so glaring, yet exactly 
of the same kind, in turning towards any 
such employment a thirtieth, or even a three 
hundredth part more of either. Whether the