It appears to be that Skousen did not take his time to carefully examine Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
, because a lot of his assertions about Adam Smith's free trade theory seem to be nothing more than a synopsis of common myths -- and those common myths are often distorted interpretations of Adam Smith's real thought on free trade.
Adam Smith's practical objective in developing the argument for free trade differed from that of the classical and neoclassical economists after him. So did his "meaning" of free trade.The Wealth of Nations
was a reformist response to a pressing issue of international economic policy in the historical context. Adam Smith wrote this book to use facts to attack the misguided mercantilist doctrines (the economic equivalent of political absolutism and dominant in Europe in the 16th-18th centuries) which, at the time, boded to reduce the sum of economic exchange between England and France to smuggling. The very same mercantilist doctrines supported a corrupt and exploitative British colonial policy -- the flaws of which were self-evident to those who started the American Revolution in the same year that Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations
was published. The book is Adam Smith's theoretical instrument to destroy the prevalent mercantilist doctrine and policy.
It seems to me that, for Adam Smith, international trade -- while certainly better "free" than in the hands of government-sponsored monopolies -- was something of a last resort for increasing the wealth of nations. Absent the artificial stimulus to foreign trade under mercantilism, the nation would be led to exploit the more productive domestic uses of capital, before investing large sums of capital in those less productive.
The author clearly portrays Karl Marx like a devil while worshiping Adam Smith like a saint.
His one-sided view reads more like a propaganda (to serve whatever cause) than an objective academic analysis on how these three great thinkers influenced the realm of economic thoughts and how their ideas are still relevant or irrelevant today.