Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: From Metaphor to Myth
Adam Smith and the â€˜invisible handâ€™ are nearly synonymous in modern economic thinking. Adam Smith is strongly associated with the invisible hand, understood as a general rule that people in realising their self-interests unintentionally benefit the public good. The attribution to Smith is challengeable. Adam Smithâ€™s use of the metaphor was much more modest; it was re-invented in the 1930s and 1940s onwards to bolster mathematical treatments of capitalism (Samuelson, Friedman) and to support innovative analysis by associating the metaphor with â€˜spontaneous orderâ€™ (Hayek). The effect has been to ignore insightful explanations about how markets function as a process in favour of semi-mystical beliefs in imagined outcomes, wrapped in an isolated 18th-century literary metaphor, which does not explain anything.
Volume (Year): 6 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (703) 993-1151
Web page: http://econjwatch.org/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:6:y:2009:i:2:p:239-263. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jason Briggeman)The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Jason Briggeman to update the entry or send us the correct address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.