Smith's Invisible Hand and Hegel's Cunning of Reason
Format of Original
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
International Journal of Social Economics
The affinities of Smith's invisible hand notion and Hegel's cunning of reason are examined through a study of all the key locations in which the invisible hand and cunning of reason are introduced. Despite their differences in orientation and philosophy, both writers reach similar conclusions regarding the play of self-interest and the emergence of the social good. Specifically, each requires a deus ex machina – Providence or Geist – to generate the necessary telosthat supplements their respective logical arguments concerning the concrete play of interest. At the same time, each view provides little to explain how individualism creates the greater social good, so that recourse in each argument to an extra-social entity obscures the actual functioning of the social order. The common approaches of the two very different thinkers thus reflects on the general requirements and dilemmas of arguments concerning the social good and individual interest.