Reflections on the Invisible Hand
That a society of greedy and selfseeking people constrained only by the criminal law and the law of the property and contact should be capable of an orderly and coherent disposition of its economic resources is very surprising. Marx called such a society anarchic and so it is. Yet ever since Adam Smith economists have been concerned to show that such anarchy is consistent with order and indeed with certain desirable outcomes. Smith proposed that the market system acted like a guiding - an invisible - hand. It was invisible since in fact there was no actual hand on the rudder. The metaphor which he chose was exactly opposite.
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