Friday, April 16, 2010

Completed the First Phase of an Important Paper on the Genesis and History of the Modern Myth of the Invisible Hand

With all the excitement caused by the General Election, and now the Icelandic volcano and the lack of air travel to and from Scotland (which has trapped my daughter in Reykjavik), I am happy to report to Lost Legacy that I completed this afternoon an early draft of my paper, ‘Paul Samuelson and the Modern Economics of the Invisible hand’, which I have been working on for several months (or several years if you take account of the beginning of my interest in the subject from 2003).

This takes the debate on the invisible hand from its historical background to its recent modern history and, again, covers entirely new ground from the mid-20th century and into the early 21st century.

This new paper is for the University of Richmond (VA) Summer School in June and completes the set of papers I have written and presented to various academic bodies on Smith’s use of the invisible hand metaphor:

1 ‘The Invisible Hand’ in (2005) Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy, Chapter 39, 35-38. Palgrave Macmillan.

2 ‘Adam Smith and the Myth of the Invisible Hand’ (2007), presented at the `History of Economics Society’ annual conference, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

3 ‘an Invisible hand’ in (2008), Adam Smith: a moral philosopher and his invisible hand, Chapter 12, 210-26. Palgrave Macmillan.

4 ‘Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: From Metaphor to Myth’, Econ Journal Watch, May 2009, vol.6, no. 2: 239-63: (ejw_wat_may09_kennedy-Klein.pdf_

5 ‘A Reply to Daniel Klein on Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand’, Econ Journal Watch, September 2009. vol. 6, no 3: 374-88 (ejw_wat_sep09_kennedy.pdf)

6 ‘The Centrality of the Invisible Hand in Smith’s Books: using a metaphor as an antidote to “tiresome” and “less pleasant” narrative styles’, April 2010.
Social Science Research Network, available at:

The final draft of the new paper will be available in May.



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