Adam Smith Authors The Wealth of Nations


“Which Side of the Penny is Yours?” from Aristotle’s Prayer

by Gary PowellHistorical Scottish Penny

Scottish economist Adam Smith authored The Wealth of Nations published in 1776 in London! That year sound familiar? His book is the blueprint for the free market system which we are struggling to maintain today. Adam Smith’s bust can be found on the historic Scottish penny minted in 1797.

Many contemporary economists believe there is a modern-day “corporate betrayal” of Adam Smith’s economics philosophy. I was struck with the idea that the market economy works only when producers of products have a level playing field free from special interests from any large concentrations of wealth, power and influence and that the fruits of one’s labor should go to the producer. Thusly, I penned the song which commemorates Adam Smith’s penny and the idea that a good portion of that earned penny should belong to the person who produced the work.

In 1751, Smith was appointed Professor of Logic at Glasgow University, transferring in 1752 to the Chair of Moral Philosophy. His lectures covered the field of ethics, rhetoric, jurisprudence and political economy, or “police and revenue”. That said, the philosophy related in the lyrics of the song, “Which Side of the Penny is Yours”, are Adam Smith’s. The “earthy” fashioned lyric is mine and would probably not have been approved knowing Adam Smith’s puritanical leanings. This is clearly my interpretation and no disrepect is meant for Adam Smith’s work which has so influenced and helped liberate the individual human being.

To learn more, please visit The Adam Smith Institute


Which Side of the Penny is Yours?

Music and Lyric by Gary Powell

Verse 1
A Scottish lad of twenty-eight
and the toast of Glasgow U.
Please let me introduce myself
Adam Smith’s the name and you?

You’ve me to thank for all you got
Without me you’re a slave
It is my task, I have to ask
This query from the grave

Chorus 1
Oh, which side of the penny is yours, me lad
Which side of the penny is yours?
Who’s life is it anyway
And who is minding the store?

I see a hand that’s down your pants
You’ve taken no notice before
You’ve been led astray, I hate to say
The hand it is not yours

Oh, which side of the penny is yours, me lad
Which side of the penny is yours?

Verse 2
In seventeen hundred seventy-six
I penned the book of greed
To tell the tale let truth prevail
What the Wealth of Nations need

I know the interest and the wages
The prices and the rents
With a four-edged sword I have restored
A pound or two and some pence

Bridge 1
You work and toil “for whom?” you ask
And what to you is returned?
Here’s the deal the king’s revealed
You keep the money you’ve earned

Chorus 2
Which side of the penny is yours, me lass
Which side of the penny is yours?
Who’s life is it anyway
And who is minding the store?

I see the wind blow up your skirt
And though you’re known by the Pope
You’ve been led astray, I hate to say
By a Parliamential grope

Oh, which side of the penny is yours, me lass
Which side of the penny is yours?

Verse 3
The ethics and the rhetoric
And jurisprudence galore
It’s not all academic crap
When your coffers are not yours

You feel your pleasure you feel you pain
So why would you agree
To circumvent your own consent
To a statewide spending spree?

Bridge 2
What a mess it seems I started now
Get off your duff and milk the cow
The milk is yours for free exchange
Trade it for whiskey and keep the change

Verse 4
Political economy
I’m an oxymoronical knight
(knight with a “k”)
It’s what I do and my hope for you
Is America gets it right

Oh, say can you see?

Chorus 3
Which side of the penny is yours, Dear God
Which side of the penny is yours?
Who’s life is this anyway
If you are minding the store?

Where there’s holy smoke and armies
Your hand, dear God, is near
You’ve been led astray, I hate to say
We will take it from here

Oh, which side of the penny is yours, dear God
Which side of the penny is yours?

Which side of the penny, which side of the penny
Which side of the penny is yours?
Which side of the penny
Which side of the penny
Which side of the penny
Which side of the penny is yours?

Verse 5
A Scottish man of twenty-eight
And the toast of Glasgow U.
Now I’ve introduced myself
Adam Smith’s the name and you?

(Copyright Jesmax Music, BMI 2005)

2 Responses to “

Adam Smith Authors The Wealth of Nations


“Which Side of the Penny is Yours?” from Aristotle’s Prayer
  1. Emma
    October 31st, 2005 | 9:59 am

    Ooh, that’s really good. I like the “hand that’s down your pants” stanza.

  2. October 31st, 2005 | 11:20 am

    Third verse: a gun is in the other hand.

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