Friday, January 05, 2018


Door Jerome Crijins posts 3 Jnauary, 2018 on Linked In HERE
“Back in 1776, Adam Smith popularized the notion of an ‘invisible hand’ in the global economy. He was a liberalist avant-la-lettre­ and profoundly believed in the unintended social benefits stemming from a free market. This mechanism would naturally steer a country towards welfare maximization. In the age of Google and Amazon, an entirely different invisible hand seems at play.”
Adam Smith did not “popularise” the “notion of an invisible hand in the global economy in 1776”.
The words appeared ONCE only in his ‘Wealth of Nations’ published in London in 1776, and repeated in all five editions of his famous book up to 1789.
BUT! And it is a big ‘but’. 
Hardly anybody noticed Smith’s use of the now famous metaphor while he was alive, and nor for many years after he died until a few isolated mentions appeared in the 1870s. The absent non-mentions were evident even in the major volumes published by many of the leading political economists (Ricardo, Mill, etc.,) in the 19th century. 

Even after then, mentions of Adam Smith’s use of the now famous metaphor of ‘an invisible hand’ remained sparse, right through to the mid-20th century, when Paul Samuelson published his series of Econ 101 textbooks via McGraw-Hill from 1948 through to 2010, which included false claims about Adam Smith’s use of the now famous metaphor.


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