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The World
An Economics Exhibit

The World's Wealth
  • The Industrial Revolution (by )
  • Oeconomicus (by )
  • Records from Erech, Time of Nabonidus (5... (by )
  • Dealing with Spatial Dimensions of Inequ... (by )
  • Principles of Economics : Volume 1 (by )
  • Sumerian Tablets from Umma in the John R... (by )
  • The Wealth of Nations (by )
  • Capital : A Critique of Political Econom... (by )
  • The Economic Consequences of the Peace (by )
  • Life of Adam Smith (by )
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The World's Wealth:  An Economics Exhibit

This virtual exhibit offers significant insight into the money, economic theories and political influence on economies.  The historical economic discoveries and records of common men and great economists alike have been preserved in a treasure trove of works and documents in the World’s Wealth Exhibit.  A focused exploration into historical documents within our Collection will give readers a sound foundation for understanding of government, society and finance processes.

Ancient Economics
Ancient Economics
According to the World Heritage Encyclopedia, the discipline of Economics "focuses on the behavior and interactions of economic agents and how economies work."  Traditionally, the study of economics is the study of the way individuals and societies best use limited resources to satisfy their wants and needs both at the macro and micro levels  (“Economics,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).  Throughout history, mankind has approached the processes that govern the production, distribution and consumption of resources with a variety of methods...some more in agreement with our current perception of morality than others.

Records from Erech, Time of Nabonidus (555-538 B.C.), Volume 6 by Raymond P. Dougherty documents the experiences of agricultural slaves in Babylon during the reign of the last Neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus.  They lived  long, cruel days under the scorching sun; ploughing, sowing, reaping and threshing (
Records from Erech, Time of Nabonidus (555-538 B.C.), Volume 6, Raymond Philip Dougherty).  In addition, they were sold.  The book, Sumerian Tablets from Umma in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, describes when a sale occurred, a receipt of purchase would be drawn up on a small clay tablet for your former owner (The Sumerian Tablets from Umma, Charles Lees Bedale).  This clay receipt would have represented some of the first records of monetary exchange in the history of mankind (“Economics,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).

The most treasured discoveries made by the greatest minds in the history of economic thought are rendered somewhat lifeless beside a record of the daily suffering endured by a common slave hand in Babylon (Records from Erech, Time of Nabonidus (555-538 B.C.), Volume 6, Raymond Philip Dougherty).  It is this connection to documents and records, detailing humanity’s cruelty in some cases, which makes so relevant the importance of fair economic law and practice today.

Immoral economic practices are often a product of trying to address the problem of resource scarcity in a society (“Economics,” World Heritage Encyclopedia). The problem of scarcity is addressed at length by 18th-century Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, whose most famous work, The Wealth of Nations, is often referred to as the bible of capitalism ("Adam Smith," World Heritage Encyclopedia).

Smith believed that when an individual pursues his or her self-interest, they indirectly promote the good of society and solve many of the problems associated with scarcity (The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith).  Smith contended that self-interested competition in the free market would tend to benefit society as a whole by keeping prices low, while still building in an incentive for a wide variety of goods and services ("Adam Smith," World Heritage Encyclopedia).

Before Smith wrote the book, world economic theory measured a country’s wealth by its store of gold, silver and other precious metals. Smith argued that a nation’s wealth should not be judged thus but rather by the total of its production and commerce - what we know today as gross domestic product (The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith).

It took Smith nine long years to write the book, which is believed to be the first work dedicated to the study of political economics ("The Wealth of Nations" World Heritage Encyclopedia).  Life of Adam Smith describes Smith was on his deathbed, regretting that he hadn’t accomplished more (Life of Adam Smith, John Rae).   Even so, his philosophies and contributions to economic thought have often been credited, such as in The Industrial Revolution by Charles Austin Beard, for forging the path to prosperity that characterized the western world in the 19th-Century.
Alfred Marshall, a British economist born in 1842, learned from many of Smith’s discoveries and yet disagreed with Smith on several points. Specifically he argued that man should be equally as important as money and that there must be an emphasis on human welfare, instead of just wealth.  Marshall saw that the duty of economics was to improve material conditions, but believed that such improvement would only occur in partnership with social and political forces (“Alfred Marshall,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).

Marshall’s greatest success was an economic text called The Principles of Economics, Volume 1.  This work sought to reconcile the classical and modern theories of value to create a decisive and comprehensive tool for economic instruction ("The Principles of Economics," World Heritage Encyclopedia).  Much of the success of Marshall’s teaching and The Principles of Economics book was derived from his effective use of diagrams such as his supply and demand graph (The Principles of Economics, Alfred Marshall).  His models and graphs gave later economists more effective means from which to learn and teach and are still utilized in educational settings today.  Perhaps more importantly, Marshall’s brief references to the social and cultural relations in the industrial districts of England were used as a starting point for late twentieth century work in economic geography ("Alfred Marshall," World Heritage Encyclopedia).  Another book in our collection titled, Dealing with Spatial Dimensions of Inequality in Indonesia: Towards a Social Accord notes that today, surveys and other statistical analysis help us to identify uneven or insufficient resource distribution within a given geographical area or people group and make adjustments accordingly (Dealing with Spatial Dimensions of Inequality in Indonesia: Towards a Social Accord, Iyanatul Islam).

Resource scarcity remains a problem for the common man in the 21st-Century but we are privileged access to the wisdom of the greatest minds who have come before us and to the authentic stories of men and women who have lived lives as full of struggle and hardship as our own.
Works Cited
"Adam Smith."  World Heritage Encyclopedia.  Web.  2014.  

"Alfred Marshall." World Heritage Encyclopedia.  Web.  2014.  

Bedale, Charles Lees.  Sumerian Tablets from Umma in the John Rylands Library, Manchester.  Manchester:  The University Press, 1915. 

Dougherty, Raymond Philip.  Records from Erech, Time of Nabonidus (555-538 B.C.).  Volume 6.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1920.

Economics.”  World Heritage Encyclopedia.  Web.  2014.  

Islam, Iyanatul.  Dealing with Spatial Dimensions of Inequality in Indonesia: Towards a Social Accord.  The World Bank, 2003. 

Marshall, Alfred.  Principles of Economics.  Volume 1.  London:  Macmillan Publishers, 1890. 

Rae, John.  Life of Adam Smith.  London:  Macmillan Publishers, Ltd., 1895. 

Smith, Adam.  The Wealth of Nations.  London:  Methuen, 1904. 
Economics Collections
Economics Collections
It has been said that money makes the world go 'round. It's certainly clear that the men and women behind the world's wealth both drive society forward and at times cause it to regress. 

The World’s Wealth Exhibit shelves thousands of relevant digital works from collections all over the world including:

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Top 100 books on Economics

  • The State and Revolution (by )
  • Children of the Slaves (by )
  • The Decline of American Capitalism (by )
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  • Effects of the Corn Laws (by )
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  • Report of the Joint Committee of the Sen... (by )
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Department of Commerce Collection

  • Part a : Trade in Goods and Services (Gr... (by )
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Economics Publications Collection

  • American Community Survey (by )
  • Dear Secretary, This Letter Is in Respon... (by )
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  • Re: Technology Workshop-Comment, P034808 (by )
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Export and Trade Collection

  • National Security (by )
  • Great Internet Search Tools (by )
  • Exporter's Matrix : Handbook for U. S. A... (by )
  • Dispute Avoidance and Dispute Resolution (by )
  • Costa Rica (by )
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  • Export America (by )
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  • 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting... (by )
  • Iraq Weekly Status Report (by )
  • Export America (by )
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Federal Trade Commission

  • Re: Can-Spam Act Rulemaking, Project No.... (by )
  • Want Your Hi - Tech Company To (by )
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  • Re: The Fact Act Disposal Rule, R-411007 (by )
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  • Subject: Fairness to Contact Lens Consum... (by )
  • Easy Credit Not so Fast! 
  • Subject: Facta Notices, Matter No. R4L 1... 
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Small Business Administration Collection

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