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Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Book Review

Abstract

Proponents of laissez-faire economic philosophy have long relied upon the concept of the “invisible hand” to justify non-intervention by governments in markets. The term is typically interpreted to describe how the independent actions of self-interested individuals can lead to a beneficial societal outcome. Since Adam Smith introduced the concept in 1776, the invisible hand has become an important foundation of economic analysis and has consistently been a source of controversy, debate, and policy inspiration. As one of the core tenets of neoclassical economic theories and the Chicago School of economic thought, the invisible hand has been associated with the modern shift in emphasis from regulation to free market philosophy. However, the appeal of the concept has somewhat diminished in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, with many blaming rising income inequality and reduced social mobility on lax regulations and limited oversight of the financial sector.

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