On March 9th in 1776, Scottish economist, philosopher, and author Adam Smith published his "An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations", more famously known as "The Wealth of Nations". Wealth of Nations was published following Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments, in which he outlined his moral philosophy based on individual responsibility towards improving the lives of all, and served as the moral basis for thinking of Economics as a means to serve the greater good.
Hailed today as an economics classic, Smith outlines his economic theories in the context of the Industrial Revolution: division of labor, leading to increased productivity, in a free market (non-mercantilist) society as part of an automatic economic system.
Challenging Europe's accepted notions that gold and silver were high in worth, that imports should be limited while exports be increased, Smith proposed a view in which the value of overall goods and services created by nations contributes to their overall value. This is more or less the definition of the gross national product.