Saturday, May 12, 2012

Loony Tunes no 47


Alfie van den Bos writes in The Yorker HERE 
The advantage here is that only the 0.0000000001% of the population who find libertarian economics sexually arousing and for whom the “invisible hand” is a form of hands-free masturbation, will ever agree with these sentiments.”

Benjamin Jackson contributes to FWD Tech for Humans to HERE 
He spoke of an "invisible hand" that chooses some ideas over others, elevating mere mortals to the social media equivalent of deities.”

And, thanks to the Invisible Hand, plenty is still at stake, so make sure to block your agenda for those two hours between 1900 and 2100 GMT on Sunday evening.

Sustainability By Design HERE 
How bad does it have to get before everything that makes us human and differentiates us from other animals becomes just another innovation brought to us through the magic of the invisible hand?

SIGNIFYIN'. Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt.  HERE 
This “invisible hand” is bold and carries a big stick covered in green paper with dead president’s pictures on it.”

The Guardian HERE 
Again, welfare state activity is a booming klaxon, declaring loudly that capitalism is failing adequately to make room for Adam Smith's invisible hand to make its general gesture of support with sufficient flourish.”

Nathan Grayson on Rock, Paper, Shotgun HERE 
Now it moves, as though propelled by puppet strings, the invisible hand of fate, or a ghost.”


Blogger airth10 said...

I am inspired. This is "Loony Tunes". So I am going to stretch Smith's meaning of the invisible hand a bit, stretch it, not distort it or be too loony about it.

Adam Smith used the invisible hand metaphor to explain phenomena that was otherwise inexplainable or difficult to explain. So too do I use it to explain world phenomena that is difficult to comprehend.

In The Wealth of Nations Smith wrote "as in many other cases, [t]he invisible hand....:.". That passage suggests to me that the invisible hand does other things besides those things mentioned by Smith in his books Moral Sentiment and The Wealth of Nations. He metaphorically suggests that there is an invisible hand and it is a savior, doing right by society. In Moral Sentiment the invisible hand metaphor gives away food to the peasantry so it doesn't starve or turn against its masters. In The Wealth of Nations the invisible hand has a bias, like a corrective, that directs business people to invest in domestic industry, instead of abroad, in order to keep jobs at home.

But like Smith implied, confusingly, the invisible hand does other good deeds unbeknownst to society. The invisible hand also invested internationally. It has directed moneys that started global companies like The East Indian Co. and The Hudson's Bay Co. It colonized so that the world would become homogenous and cohesive. It did this to help integrate the world so that one day its people could work and live peacefully together, as people and nations are striving to do today. The invisible hand is responsible for globalization. Moreover, under the guise of globalization and its economic integration the invisible hand has been a gadfly and brought down totalitarian regimes, regimes that insisted on remaining isolated, which Civilization abhors. So, then, the invisible hand has also behaved like a hand maiden to Civilization, expanding and strengthening it.

Another thing that Civilization abhors, besides isolation, is complacency. If the invisible hand just directed investors to invest at at home, as Smith metaphorically put it in The Wealth of Nations, and not diversify, domestic economies grow complacent and stagnant, because they become fat and lazy. This happened with the Soviet Union because it was a closed society that discouraged new ideas. Thus it was inflexible and had no resilience. This kind of behavior by the Soviets, by the 1980s, was beginning to infect and poison the rest of the world's economies and their ecologies. In the end it was the invisible hand, in the form of globalization, that eventually swept away the Soviet Union and its disastrous economic manipulations and distortions.

Smith talked about the division of labour. Plato used to talked about the division of labour. Plato saw society and the city-state as an organism like the human body. And like the human body has its division of labour, so too does society, with people and institutions doing specific tasks. Paul, the Apostle. also understood the division of labour, as Smith did. He modeled the Christian Church on the same principles of Plato's ideal city-state. However, there have been great abuses to the division of labour. Totalitarian systems like the Soviet Union gave the division of labour a bad name. It controlled and manipulated it far too much, bringing brutal inefficiencies and corruption to the entire system, behavior that in the 1980s was beginning to take its toll on the entire socioeconomic body of humankind.

Some think the invisible hand is Providence or a deity. This Providence or deity, though, is Civilization itself, and the systems it has weaved to sustain and maintain humankind.

4:40 pm  

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