Thursday, March 21, 2013

Criticising Something That Adam Smith Never Said

Laura Dosanjh writes for Huffington Post HERE 
“From Invisible Hands to Invisible Friends: My Happiness Heroes and Heroines”
They are so often the "invisible friends", working hard to counter the effects of the "invisible hand" of economic markets, in which self interest prevails to produce economic wealth. With more invisible friends we might build a happier society, that is more able to increase wellbeing, and not just wealth.
Laura Dosanjh tries to extend the modern version of the IH metaphor and uses the “IH of markets”.  There is no such entity. and nor did Adam Smith suggest there was.
In so far has the modern IH invention is concerned it had not connection with Adam Smith’s use of the IH metaphor.  Smith was very conscious of the role of sympathy in social contexts and they could not be separated out of markets.  Self-interest in Smith’s thinking was mediated in concert with other people, who were not seen as selfish, self-centred beings.  What Laura regards as something new – individuals acting in other-centred and other-regarding ways is central to Smith’s moral philosophy.
Her use of the IH metaphor is misleading.  She does not understand what Smith was talking about.


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