The Wealth of Nations
 
Oil on Canvas
32" x 36"
2004
 
The Scotsman Adam Smith is often credited with giving birth to the modern discipline of economics with his expansive The Wealth of Nations in 1776 – the same year as America gained its independence.
 
Smith stressed that the pursuit of enlightened self-interest free from the fetters of the state would seek to maximize the annual produce of society and the Wealth of Nations. He also stressed independence for the colonies, and especially the US.
 
Smith is not credited with introducing the Supply and Demand theory of value into economics, although he is credited with introducing the notion of equilibrium. Both can be challenged.
 
Smith espoused a cost of production or labor theory of value. And the conventional wisdom is to argue that the birth of modern day economics starts with supply and demand.
 
The unification and integration of the Scottish flag with the Supply and Demand diagram expresses the birth of economics as a discipline while conveying its more modern form. (The cover of the popular student edition of Marshall’s Principles of Economics, which is credited with ushering in the modern era, is similarly dark blue).
 
The theme of the independence of the market and its colonial nexus is represented by the use of a nationalistic flag to represent the supply and demand diagram. The use of blue and the outline of the diamond at the equilibrium point provides an allusion to the diamonds water paradox that is conventionally viewed as being resolved by modern economics.