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Helping the INVISIBLE (Hand) become . . . VISIBLE


  • Adam Smith highlighted the Invisible Hand as a key part of The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. 

  • Adam Smith’s other book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, is fundamentally about what is embedded in the Invisible Hand.

  • The Sentiments ... in today's words,  Empathy --> Sympathy ... would produce the content of the Invisible Hand, referred to in Metaeconomics as the moral community

  • Metaeconomics proposes open dialogue in community about the substance, the content and character of the nature of the operant background conditions... what becomes the Visible Hand...becoming conscious at least for a time, until it, too, becomes once again a part of the Unconscious in the new Invisible Hand.

  • Build community, build shared values in a moral community: Such action makes the Invisible Hand of the economy visible, at least for a time.

  • Encourage evolution of megalogues  (after Etzioni, 1988;1993; 1996), which serves to integrate the dialogues ongoing in smaller groups (family, civic, social, political), and build a wider, more widely accepted... across many smaller, more narrowly  focused interests... Moral Community 

  • Individual emerges from dialogue(s) in many smaller groups, each having its own set of shared Other-interests, with cross-dialogue made possible by individuals being in several different groups, leading to the megalogue, and the widely shared Other-interest

  • Metaeconomics points to the real possibility that the megalogues will have the outcome of an overall integrated, balanced Other(shared widely)-interest for the community, state, region, nation,  and, overall, for this Spaceship Earth on which we all travel.

  • Perhaps there never has been, nor will there ever be, a truly Invisible Hand (see Samuels, Johnson and Perry, 2011).  Rather, the construct is just a convenient way to disguise and not address the underlying power relationships at work in a real economy, leaving what comes from the status quo.


Etzioni, Amitai. 1988. The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics. New York: Free Press.

Etzioni, A. 1993. The Spirit of Community:  Rights, Responsibilities and the Communitarian Agenda. New York: Crown Publishing Group.

Etzioni, A. 1996. The New Golden Rule. New York: Basic Books.

Samuels, Warren J., Johnson, Marianne F., and Perry, William H.  Erasing the Invisible Hand: Essays on an Elusive and Misused Concept in Economics Kindle ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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