The Wealth of Nations isn't the right-wing manifesto it's thought to be, says Stuart Crainer. Adam Smith talks as much about labour and his conclusions are distinctly humanitarian.
For a book that is over 200 years old, there is a surprisingly modern-sounding ring to a great deal of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. Take Smith on customer service: 'The pretense that corporations are necessary for the better government of trade is without any foundation. The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is not that of his corporation, but that of his customers.' W Edwards Deming, the management guru, never put it better.