Tuesday, July 31, 2007

WSJ in Invisible Hand 'Attrocity'

Wall Street Journal has this tantalising sentence in an article by Thomas F. Siems, called “Friedman's Legacy”.

Friedman reminded us of the economic principles first outlined by Adam Smith. Take Smith's concept of the "invisible hand," by which individuals, ...”

Yes, that’s all I’ve got of it because the rest is subject to a ‘subscription’. Now as an author I am always conscious of copyright issues, etc., but I would like to read the rest of the sentence and its paragraph for obvious reasons, as my reader will know. So if anybody could supply me with the full paragraph with the sentence, I would be most grateful.

In the meantime, I am savvy enough to know from long experience of this misattribution to Smith of a metamorphosis of a metaphor into a ‘concept’, which he never meant it to be read that way, as my regular reader will know, that I could assume what follows, but scholastic training, and the many occasions when in discourse I have seen people caught for doing just that before falling on their faces, I shall refrain from the temptation, and await some kindly person to send me the paragraph..

That Milton Friedman, of Chicago University fame, was behind the metamorphosis does not surprise me. ‘Chicago’ Adam Smith was created in Milton’s department and replaced the authentic ‘Kirkcaldy’ Adam Smith who wrote the Wealth Of Nations.

One of the many atrocities committed by Chicago and its graduates who spread the word across US campuses, was the myth of the ‘invisible hand’, which some variants transmuted into ‘as if led by an invisible hand’, and most of examples of the myth in currency assert it was, first a ‘concept’, then a ‘theory’ and finally Smith’s most ‘important idea’.

Should my reader wish to have an electronic copy of my recent paper, “Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth”, he or she should let me know by arranging the following words into an address: ‘gavin’, ‘negweb’ and ‘com’ in the usual manner.

In the meantime, you can read what Sam Fleischacker, a professor of philosophy at the nearby University of Illinois, Chicago, has to say on the subject of the ‘invisible hand’ in his book: “On Adam Smith’s Wealth of nations: a philosophical companion”, pp 138-42, Princeton University Press.


Blogger Unknown said...


12:06 am  
Blogger Sonali said...

Thanks for your posts, I would be waiting for similar interesting posts in future.

Marcus White Lisdoonvarna

4:06 pm  

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