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“Adam’s Fallacy”

Duncan Foley, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, has written an interesting-sounding book: Adam’s Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology. The Adam of the title is not, as the subtitle might lead you to believe, the biblical Adam; it is Adam Smith. And the fallacy is that “the pursuit of self-interest is guided by objective laws to a socially benificent outcome.” In other words: the Invisible Hand does not work as neatly as classical economics would have us believe — not, at least, if your moral and social concerns are anywhere near as significant as your economic concerns. Here’s a nice essay about the book by Peter Steinfels in the N.Y. Times.