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The Life and Works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx sample essay

The paper is about two well-known economists of our time, Karl Marx and Adam Smith. In the first part of the paper, the life and works of Karl Marx will be discussed followed by that of Adam Smith. The succeeding part of the paper will focus on the comparison of the two economists featured in the paper. A brief opinion about the two economists will follow and the conclusion closes the paper.

The Life of Karl Marx

Karl Marx was born in Prussia and was educated in that place. His philosophical writings were influenced by the thoughts of Hegel. The only thing that separates the work of Hegel and that of Karl Marx is the latter’s argument that the fundamentals of reality is found on the basis of economics instead in the conceptual thinking of unrealistic philosophy (Kemerling 1). In the year 1849, Karl Marx settled in London where he experienced poverty with his family while studying and writing his economic and political theories (Kemerling 1).

The foundation of the economic analysis of Karl Marx was found in his writings entitled “Economic and Political Manuscripts” which was published in the year 1844. The basic argument of Karl Marx in the said manuscript is that the circumstances of modern industrial societies are the result of isolation of workers from their labor (Kemerling 1). All other philosophical writings of Karl Marx are anchored on the said idea.

The Life of Adam Smith

Adam Smith is the man who founded the science of economics. He was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland in the year 1723 (Murdarasi 1). The family of Adam Smith was involved in the business of customs and excise tax payment via ensuring that import and export duties were paid on goods (Murdarasi 1). Adam Smith was educated at Glasgow University and Balliol College in Oxford University.

Adam Smith participated in a grand tour which was organized for the benefit of young nobles in the year 1763. In this trip, Adam Smith was able to met French Enlightenment thinkers which turn out to be advantageous to him. At that time, he wrote “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” which is considered his greatest work (Murdarasi 1). There were five editions produced out of the said philosophical writings resulting to the tremendous success of the said work.

The work “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” is about import and export restrictions as a means by which nations gain wealth. The said writings of Adam Smith revealed the basic nature and causes of a country’s opulence (Rasmussen 1). Smith gained a comfortable retirement when he was employed as the customs commissioner of Edinburgh (Murdarasi 1). At the age of 68, he died in the year 1790.

Comparison of the Life and Works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx

The life and works of Karl Marx and Adam Smith only coincides with the fact that both are considered philosophical thinkers in the filed of economics. Karl Marx was born and educated in Prussia while Adam Smith was born and educated in Scotland. The two economists differ in stations of life as Karl Marx apparently lived in poverty while preparing his philosophical writings and Adam Smith was considered to belong in a wealthy family. Karl Marx participated in ostracized political movements which made his family experience poverty. On the other hand, Adam Smith was chosen to become a tutor of the young Duke of Buccleuch which gives him a comfortable life (Murdarasi 1).

The principal work of Karl Marx is centered on the condition of society relating to poor laborers while Adam Smith wrote about the ways and means that a nation can gain wealth. Karl Marx focused on the way laborers are being treated as he exposed the fact that workers are alienated from their labor. On the other hand, Adam Smith revealed the perplexities of wealth in a given country in relation to payment of export and import duties.

Brief Opinion about Karl Marx

Karl Marx is a famous philosophical thinker that favors the working masses. The focus of his work is on the welfare of the laborers as he exposed the way employers treated them. Karl Marx is very observant of the causes why societies fail in their political and economic endeavors. He is also aware that the people who makes and breaks a nation are the laborers who work hard for industrialization.

Karl Marx is correct when he wrote that the worse conditions of societies were caused by the fact that employers allowed the workers to be separated from their labor. Karl Marx is trying to say that the working masses should be associated and allowed to take part of the labor that they contributed in the society. In that way, the economic conditions of societies can gain progress and development.

Brief Opinion about Adam Smith

Adam Smith is very knowledgeable about payment of import and export duties. The reason why he was knowledgeable on that particular subject is the fact that he belongs to a family that involves in the business of collecting import and export duties or tax payment. Adam Smith lived a wealthy and comfortable life while living in Scotland. He experienced a grand tour with the young Duke of Buccleuch since he was chosen to be the latter’s tutor.

Adam Smith is concerned on the way nations accumulate wealth by giving insights on the profits of engaging into customs duties collection. He revealed the wonders of having an export and export duties collection as a business endeavor. He was fortunate enough to be appointed as a customs commissioner at Edinburgh because it gave him a chance to have a comfortable retirement. Lastly, Adam Smith’s systematic writings about “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” were criticized for its air of extreme individualism.


The life and works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx are centered on their contribution in the field of economics. Both economists contributed knowledge to the development of economics as a discipline and provided insights on how the society should be viewed. While Karl Marx suggested on eradication of the alienation of workers from their labor in order to achieve excellent economic condition of societies, Adam Smith discussed about how a nation can achieve wealth through the business of export and import duties collection which makes him founder of modern economics. Finally, both economists apparently contributed to the ways and means to achieve economic development in the society.

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