But a facebook friend was particularly critical of the invisible hand article I linked to earlier, so I took a look at a few of them. This one was like nails on a chalk board:
"The only "invisible hand" operating in economics is greed. The notion that there is an Invisible Hand which, if left to its own devices, will make our economic system All Just Work is on a par with 19th century beliefs in the ether and phlogiston. Are ate totally imaginary creations, invented because nobody knew what was really going on.
There is nothing about uncontrolled greed that ensures it will result in desirable economic result."
1. So, no, the invisible hand is not what happens to actions motivated by "greed". I personally don't think of my desire to put food in my belly, a roof over my head, and a small nest egg aside so my kids can go to college one day as "greedy".
2. Phlogiston was a 17th century theory that was thoroughly debunke by the 18th century. It was already derisive to reference it by the 19th century.
3. It's spelled "aether" not "ether". "Ether" is very real.
4. "Aether" actually survived as a theory into the early 20th century. Not long into the 20th century, of course, but a few years. That's 0-2 on your 19th century claim.
5. The sentence "totally imaginary creations, invented because nobody knew what was really going on" really bothers me. Isn't that what all scientific theories are? Good scientific theories are imaginary creations that are better at explaining things than our last imaginary creation.
6. Expanding on that point, it also bugs me when people mock phlogiston or aether. These were examples of good scientific explanation in their time. Same with Ptolemaic astronomy. When people use these as buzz-words for an unscientific view of things, it gives me the impression they don't really understand how science works. Of course our political climate is such that one can't reference creationism as an example of an unscientific view of things. Which is strange, because creationism never makes any claims to be a scientific explanation. It's pretty transparently intended to be a revelation, not a scientific answer. Anyway, we're getting far afield... don't knock phlogiston. You work with the evidence and the theory you've got.
7. His last sentence is obnoxious too. It's not "uncontrolled greed". The whole point is greed is controlled by other peoples' greed (again, if you insist on calling it "greed"... I prefer "self-interest".