Saturday, January 19, 2008

Silly Saturday Story on Adam Smith no 12

Today Christie Loh writes ‘Transport’s big bang rolls in with bus shake-up: routes thrown open to competitors, rails not seen as rival’ (19 Jan) (here):

A shake-up like never before is about to hit the public bus industry, through a series of gradual measures that will combine government intervention with Adam Smith's invisible hand to make fares fairer, raise service standards and integrate bus services more seamlessly with train networks

What a hard working metaphor the invisible hand has become since his ‘discovery’ as a ‘concept’, ‘idea’, ‘principle’, ‘paradigm’ and ‘theory’ in the 20th century by somebody scrolling through volume 1 around page 456 who decided to credit the metaphor with all it has been since then.

It was a reasonably safe, not bold, assertion to make because almost everybody who believes the fairly well-known metaphor is all it’s credited with is unlikely ever to read Wealth Of Nations for themselves and realize it’s a myth.

Though, I should say from my experience that even some of those who are scholastically qualified to understand Adam Smith’s politically economy, act outrageously by refusing the realize the implications of perpetuating a solid error and by defending their intentions to continue referring to the invisible hand in the manner they do despite Adam Smith’s clear statements to the contrary.


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