A Response to Claude Hillinger's 'Adam Smith's Argument for the Existence of an Invisible Hand'
Heriot-Watt University - Edinburgh Business School
November 11, 2012
This paper discusses briefly Adam Smith metaphoric use of the “invisible hand” chapter of Wealth of Nations and shows his use of the famous metaphor conforms to the proper role of metaphors in English grammar, as he taught his students. It also comments on the role of self-interest in society. Far from hinting verbally at the grand mathematical theories of “General Equilibrium” or the “Pareto Theorem," Smith’s assertion was confined to a modest quantitative arithmetical change in “annual revenue and employment." It concludes with comments on Claude Hillinger’s interesting, though ultimately flawed, version of Adam Smith’s supposed argument for “invisible hands."
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: invisible hand, metaphors, self-interest, rhetoric, Wealth of Nations
JEL Classification: B1, B23, B25, B41working papers series
Date posted: November 11, 2012
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