Keen – inequality, power and the invisible hand
Steve Keen on the invisible hand
This following is an extract from pp.76-77 of Keen, S. (2011). Debunking economics: the naked emperor dethroned? (Rev. and expanded ed.). London; New York: Zed Books Ltd.
The extent to which economic theory ignored crucial issues like the distribution of wealth and the role of power in society leads many to extend a conspiracy theory explanation of how economics got into this state. Surely, they argue, economic theory says what the wealthy want to hear?
I instead lay the focus upon the teleological vision to which economists have been committed ever since Adam Smith first coined the phrase ‘an invisible hand’ as an analogy to the workings of a market economy. The vision of a world so perfectly coordinated that no superior power is needed to direct it, and no individual power sufficient to corrupt it, has seduced the minds of many young students of economics. I should know, because I was one…
Last updated 10 September 2014