resulting from the possession of its colonies, 
every country has engrossed to itself completely
The advantages resulting from 
their trade, it has been obliged to share with 
many other countries
At first sight, no doubt, the monopoly of 
the great commerce of America naturally 
seems to be an acquisition of the highest 
value. To the undiscerning eye of giddy 
ambition it naturally presents itself, amidst 
the confused scramble of politics and war, as 
a very dazzling object to fight for. The dazzling 
splendour of the object, however, the 
immense greatness of the commerce, is the 
very quality which renders the monopoly of 
it hurtful, or which makes one employment
in its own nature necessarily less advantageous 
to the country than the greater part of 
other employments, absorb a much greater 
proportion of the capital of the country than 
what would otherwise have gone to it. 
The mercantile stock of every country, it 
has been shown in the second book, naturally 
seeks, if one may say so, the employment 
most advantageous to that country. If it is 
employed in the carrying trade, the country 
to which it belongs becomes the emporium of 
the goods of all the countries whose trade 
that stock carries on. But the owner of that 
stock necessarily wishes to dispose of as great 
a part of those goods as he can at home
He thereby saves himself the trouble, risk
and expense of exportation; and he will upon 
that account be glad to sell them at home
not only for a much smaller price, but with 
somewhat a smaller profit, than he might expect 
to make by sending them abroad. He 
naturally, therefore, endeavours as much as 
he can to turn his carrying trade into a 
foreign trade of consumption. If his stock
again, is employed in a foreign trade of consumption, 
he will, for the same reason, be 
glad to dispose of, at home, as great a part 
as he can of the home goods which he collects 
in order to export to some foreign market
and he will thus endeavour, as much as he 
can, to turn his foreign trade of consumption 
into a home trade. The mercantile stock of 
every country naturally courts in this manner 
the near, and shuns the distant employment
naturally courts the employment in which 
the returns are frequent, and shuns that in 
which they are distant and slow; naturally 
courts the employment in which it can maintain 
the greatest quantity of productive labour 
in the country to which it belongs, or in 
which its owner resides, and shuns that in 
which it can maintain there the smallest 
quantity. It naturally courts the employment 
which in ordinary cases is most advantageous
and shuns that which in ordinary 
cases is least advantageous to that country
But if, in any one of these distant employments
which in ordinary cases are less advantageous 
to the country, the profit should 
happen to rise somewhat higher than what is 
sufficient to balance the natural preference 
which is given to nearer employments, this 
superiority of profit will draw stock from those 
nearer employments, till the profits of all return 
to their proper level. This superiority 
of profit, however, is a proof that, in the actual 
circumstances of the society, those distant 
employments are somewhat understocked 
in proportion to other employments, and that 
the stock of the society is not distributed in 
the properest manner among all the different 
employments carried on in it. It is a proof 
that something is either bought cheaper or 
sold dearer than it ought to be, and that some 
particular class of citizens is more or less 
oppressed, either by paying more, or by getting 
less than what is suitable to that equality 
which ought to take place, and which naturally 
does take place, among all the different 
classes of them. Though the same capital 
never will maintain the same quantity of productive 
labour in a distant as in a near employment
yet a distant employment may be 
as necessary for the welfare of the society as 
a near one; the goods which the distant 
employment deals in being necessary, perhaps, 
for carrying on many of the nearer employments
But if the profits of those who deal 
in such goods are above their proper level
those goods will be sold dearer than they 
ought to be, or somewhat above their natural 
price, and all those engaged in the nearer employments 
will be more or less oppressed by 
this high price. Their interest, therefore, in 
this case, requires, that some stock should 
be withdrawn from those nearer employments
and turned towards that distant one, in order 
to reduce its profits to their proper level, and 
the price of the goods which it deals in to 
their natural price. In this extraordinary 
case, the public interest requires that some 
stock should be withdrawn from those employments 
which, in ordinary cases, are more 
advantageous, and turned towards one which, 
in ordinary cases, is less advantageous to the 
public; and, in this extraordinary case, the 
natural interests and inclinations of men coincide 
as exactly with the public interests as in 
all other ordinary cases, and lead them to 
withdraw stock from the near, and to turn it 
towards the distant employments
It is thus that the private interests and passions 
of individuals naturally dispose them to 
turn their stock towards the employments 
which in ordinary cases, are most advantageous 
to the society. But if from this natural 
preference they should turn too much of it 
towards those employments, the fall of profit 
in them, and the rise of it in all others, immediately 
dispose them to alter this faulty distribution
Without any intervention of law
therefore, the private interests and passions of 
men naturally lead them to divide and distribute 
the stock of every society among all the