invisible hand

Popular Terms
Metaphor used by the 18th century Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-90) to explain the unintended common-good caused by the activities of the individuals in pursuit of their own interests. Its positive aspect is that if everyone in a society seeks economic self interest (in an environment of free and open competition) then, as if prodded by an invisible hand, he or she (unknowingly and unintentionally) will also be serving the larger interest of the society as a whole. However, in the words of the US sociologist Russell Hardin (from his book 'The Back of The Invisible Hand') "all too often we are helped less by the benevolent invisible hand than we are injured by the malevolent back of that hand; that is, in seeking private interests, we fail to secure greater collective interests.
The narrow rationality of self interest that can benefit us all in market exchange can also prevent us from succeeding in collective endeavors."

Use 'invisible hand' in a Sentence

Sometimes staying out of your own way and letting things play out will help to keep the invisible hand from holding you down.
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You must make sure to not hinder yourself with the invisible hand, instead keeping out of your own way at times and let things play out.
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I went into the haunted house and at one point it felt like an invisible hand grazed my shoulder and then it happened again.
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