Invisible Hand

Discipline: Economics

This phrase was used by Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) in explaining his belief that the actions of individuals, although taken for their own economic benefit, are guided in such a manner as to benefit society as a whole.

'He intends only his own security, only his own gain. And he is in this led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention' (An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, London, 1776).

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