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Mon May 5, 2014, 08:12 PM

Does this even start to make sense?

From a book review of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor:

According the Easterly [the author], Adam Smith's notion of the invisible hand - the natural flow of the democratic process, the will of the people, the power to make a government accountable for its actions, the right to redress grievances - is as potent a motivator in poor communities as it is in rich ones.


This seems to be a massive misunderstanding of Adam Smith's notion of the invisible hand - That from a mired individual selfish acts emerges an over-all condition conducive to the general welfare, and that this occurs without the "visible hand" of explicit political agency - without the power to make the government accountable, without the right to redress grievances, without political will of the people or anyone else, outside of and without the democratic, or any other, political process.

Now I admit that I have not read The Wealth of Nations or Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments - but I have read about his theories and thoughts and I just cannot reconcile what I know with the claim made by the author - or perhaps imposed on the author by a careless reviewer.

Am I right about this? Could any characterization of Smith's invisible hand be more wrong? Or have I missed something?

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Reply Does this even start to make sense? (Original post)
PosterChild May 2014 OP
TreasonousBastard May 2014 #1
PosterChild May 2014 #3
Fortinbras Armstrong May 2014 #2
PosterChild May 2014 #4
Name removed Aug 2014 #5

Response to PosterChild (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 01:59 AM

1. I don't think you missed anything-- that quote makes no sense.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #1)

Wed May 7, 2014, 08:15 PM

3. Thanks! (nt)

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Response to PosterChild (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 08:31 AM

2. Yep, whoever wrote that does not understand Smith

And also seems to subscribe to the Whig Theory of History -- that "in every day, in every way, we are getting better and better".

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #2)

Wed May 7, 2014, 08:16 PM

4. Thanks! (nt)

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