the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

Weekend Reading: B*!$%-slapped by the invisible hand

In human behavior on November 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Adam Smith knew that free market economics cannot be an end in and of itself; that it is the willed restraint of the “invisible hand” (mediated through government) that blunts economies’ sometimes cruel motives. Government makes us redeemably self-aware that the market’s self-preservation is sometimes (but doesn’t have to be) to our collective detriment:

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.” For Smith, the market moves toward monopoly; it is the job of the philosopher to define, and of the sovereign state to restore, free play.

– Adam Gopnik, “market man,” The New Yorker


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