Saturday, December 19, 2015


David Gura posts (15 March) HERE 
The rich history of money and why we can't master it”
“The first person to reference the invisible hand wasn’t Adam Smith; it was John Calvin, notes Columbia University humanities professor Mark C. Taylor. Calvin believed that God’s hand brought order to an otherwise chaotic world. By using this terminology, Smith changed the “source of order” from “God, to internal relations among individual human actors. From this point of view, the market is a self-organizing system that regulates itself,” writes Taylor.”
Early usage of the metaphor of “an invisible hand” long pre-dated both Adam Smith and Calvin
A short and by no means exhaustive summary shows its previous usage by numerous authors going back to 720BC (see Kennedy: Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: From Metaphor to Myth, Econ Journal Watch:
Homer (Iliad, 720 BC): ‘and from behind Zeus thrust him [Hector] on with exceeding mighty hand’. Smith had several copies in his library.
Horace: Fulminantis manus Jovis’ (The mighty hand of thundering Jove) odes 3.3.6, ‘which smith knew well’ (Force 2003, 70).
Ovid of Caeneus at Troy: ‘twisted and plied his invisible hand, inflicting wound within wound’ (Bonar 1966, 125).
Lactantius (c.250-325), De divinio praemio: early use of ‘invisibilis’.
Augustine (354-430): ‘God’s “hand” is his power, which moves visible things by invisible means’ (Force 2003, 71).
Shakespeare (1605): ‘Thy bloody and invisible hand’ (bonar 1966, 166). 
Glanvill (1661): ‘nature work[ing] by an invisible hand in all things’; ‘invisible intellectual agents’ (andriopoulos 1999, 739n-758).
Voltaire (1718): ‘Tremble, unfortunate King, an invisible hand suspends above your head’; and ‘an invisible hand pushed away my presents’ (Bonar1966, 192).
Daniel Defoe:
a sudden blow from an almost invisible hand, blasted all my happiness’, in Moll Flanders (1722) (Buchan 2006, 2) ‘it has all been brought to pass by an invisible hand’ (Colonel Jack, 1723). (Force 2003, 71-2, & n 102).
P. burman (1734) trans.: Jupiter, invisible to humans, ‘armed his hand with winds, rains, storms, thunder and whatever else belongs to this kind of things’ (bonar 1966, 38; vivenza 2008).
Nicolas Lenglet Dufesnoy (1735): an ‘invisible hand’ has sole power over ‘what happens under our eyes’ (Force 2003, 72).
Charles rollin (1661-1741): whom Pierre Force describes as ‘very well known in English and Scottish universities’, said of the military successes of israeli Kings ‘the rapidity of their consequences ought to have enabled them to discern the invisible hand which conducted them’ (rollin 1730-8 1(l); Force 2003, 72).
William Leechman (1755): ‘the silent and unseen hand of an all wise Providence which over-rules all the events of human life, and all the resolutions of the human will’ (Leechman 1755, xii; Bonar 1966, 92).
Charles Bonnet (whom smith befriended in Geneva in 1765) wrote of the economy of the animal: ‘it is led towards its end by an invisible hand’. (Bonar,1966, 32; smith 1987, 181-2; Force 2003, 73).
Jean-Baptiste Robinet (1761) (a translator of hume): refers to fresh water as ‘those basins of mineral water, prepared by an invisible hand’ (Bonar 1931, 158).
Walpole (1764): ‘the door was clapped-to with violence by an invisible hand’ (Andriopoulus 1999).
Reeve (1778, 13-14): ‘Presently after, he thought he was hurried away by an invisible hand, and led into a wild heath’ (Andriopoulus 1999).
Peter Harrison (Oxford) has traced c.40 theological references to the metaphor before Smith in “Adam Smith and the history of the invisible hand”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 2011, 72 (1) pp.29-49.

The facts are conclusive. David Gura may wish to take note, as might humanities Professor Mark C. Taylor at Columbia University.


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