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The Invisible Hand Hoax

Adam Smith‘s “invisible hand” theory of efficient markets is one of the first lessons taught to young economics students. James Tobin, a Nobel prize-winning economist, once described the theory as “… one of the great ideas of history and one of the most influential.” But in this new paper, Gavin Kennedy argues that Smith actually had no invisible-hand theory, pointing out that the phrase appears only three times in Smith’s writings. One scholar believes that Smith’s use of the phrase was a “mildly ironic joke.” (HT: Brad DeLong) [%comments]