Now we know that Matt Ridley reads this at least sometimes. And we\’ve found out that he has a new book out.
In this book I have tried to build on both Adam Smith and Charles Darwin: to interpret human society as the product of a long history of what the philosopher Dan Dennett calls \”bubble-up\” evolution through natural selection among cultural rather than genetic variations, and as an emergent order generated by an invisible hand of individual transactions, not the product of a top-down determinism. I have tried to show that, just as sex made biological evolution cumulative, so exchange made cultural evolution cumulative and intelligence collective, and that there is therefore an inexorable tide in the affairs of men discernible beneath the chaos of their actions. A flood tide, not an ebb tide.
That basic idea being entirely reasonable,
However, naughty, naughty Mr. Ridley.
The conjunction of Adam Smith with \”an invisible hand\”.
Sigh….invisible hand appears three times in Smith\’s writing. Once about astronomy, the second I cannot remember and the third in the way that merchants prefer to invest at home rather than abroad. None of which are actually about that \”invisible hand\” that is currently used as a shorthand for the market.
You\’ll have Gavin Kennedy shouting at you soon enough you know.