The "Invisible Hand" in Economics And Social Theory

Ozel H.

AMME IDARESI DERGISI, vol.42, no.2, pp.45-65, 2009 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.45-65
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study will argue that the "invisible hand" metaphor, one of key hypothesises of economic and social theory, can be a helpful casual hypothesis in to explain the emergence of a social order only if it offers some causal mechanism. Otherwise, this might be reduced to empty, "Panglossian" metaphysics concerning merely optimal and desirable consequences, mostly unintentionally. The study maintains that such a functionalist and/or teleological understanding of the metaphor would restrict both its applicability and reality. Therefore, it is argued that adopting an "evolutionary hand" approach that allows-for imbalances, inefficiencies and instabilities will be more helpful in respect of the generality and realisticity of the analysis.