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Erasing the Invisible Hand

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Author Info

  • Samuels,Warren J. Assisted by-Name:Johnson,Marianne F. Assisted by-Name:Perry,William H.

Abstract

This book examines the use, principally in economics, of the concept of the invisible hand, centering on Adam Smith. It interprets the concept as ideology, knowledge and a linguistic phenomenon. It shows how the principal Chicago School interpretation misperceives and distorts what Smith believed on the economic role of government. The essays further show how Smith was silent as to his intended meaning, using the term to set minds at rest; how the claim that the invisible hand is the foundational concept of economics is repudiated by numerous leading economic theorists; that several dozen identities given the invisible hand renders the term ambiguous and inconclusive; that no such thing as an invisible hand exists; and that calling something an invisible hand adds nothing to knowledge. Finally, the essays show that the leading doctrines purporting to claim an invisible hand for the case for capitalism cannot invoke the term but that other non-normative invisible hand processes are still useful tools.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by Cambridge University Press in its series Cambridge Books with number 9780521517256 and published in 2011.

Order: http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521517256
Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521517256

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Web page: http://www.cambridge.org

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Cited by:
  1. Avner Offer, 2012. "Self-interest, Sympathy and the Invisible Hand: From Adam Smith to Market Liberalism," Economics Series Working Papers Number 101, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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