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I Prefer The Invisible Hand

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Posted by Harvey on October 3, 2001 12:33:27 UTC


Adam Smith introduced a concept that called the 'invisible hand'. When people/things seek their own self interest the economy creates jobs, species evolve to keep pace with evolutionary changes, voters select the indivdual that meets their needs, etc. What is essential for the 'invisible hand' to work is that someone doesn't come along and say that they have truth, goodness, benefit and that we, as less insightful saps, must somehow sacrifice our desire to improve our lives by not moving to the city we choose, or owning the product that we think we wish, or taking on the career that we select even if we are not best at it, or voting for the politician we see fit, or even reading a book that maybe a majority motivated by 'truth, goodness, benefit' may say is harmful for our minds.

In short, Buddhism is one of the great religions of the world, but in my view the Western notion of the Invisible Hand is superior. Fortunately we don't have to worship the 'invisible hand', all we have to do is allow it to work.

That's not to say that a society can function properly without human sacrifice, human goodwill, etc. Rather, we should let these attempts to enrich the soul to compete and also produce the 'invisible hand' effect. Doing so does cause a battle for the soul, but this battle is necessary in order for the 'invisible hand' to work. God allows this and in fact designed the universe (I believe) according to this principle so that the deep enriching soul practices of the Dhamma (brotherhood, sisterhood, unity in Christ, whatever you want to call it) develops as an emergent phenomena. The true effect is not that people are denied, the true emergent effect is that families nurture this effect from childhood along with other changes that I believe are eventually in store for the human species.

However, whatever that emergent phenomena develops into, the one thing stays constant, nobody messes with the 'hand'.

Warm regards, Harv

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