The free-trade folks – who you might notice are almost always the people profiting from the business practice being criticized – talk about Adam Smith’s quasi-thought-experiment as if it were some kind of magical spell shoving wages, prices, and stock options around. Many pundits (again, those profiting from or paid by those profiting from deregulation) refer to the “invisible hand” as a force inside markets.
|Use the LIGHT side of the Force!|
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The market’s “invisible hand” is actually extremely visible. The “invisible hand” is the sum of every action by every person that impacts buying and selling decisions. Every last one of them.
I remember hearing about a Fortune 500 company’s board meeting where one of the board members said “Oh, the invisible hand will take care of that.” The CEO replied, “You idiot, we are the invisible hand.”
But it goes much deeper than that.
|Visible manifestations of the Invisible Hand|
So if you changed any of your purchasing habits because of Occupy Wall Street, that’s the invisible hand at work. Stop buying gas at BP during that last big spill in the Gulf? Invisible hand. Decided to buy “fair trade” anything? Invisible hand. Buy a book directly from an author rather than from a big box store? Invisible hand. Switch web browsers for any reason? Invisible hand.
I’d go so far as to say that Occupy Wall Street is itself a product of the “invisible hand”. It is a market force, created by market forces. The same goes for any union, any protest, anything that impacts trade. All of those things are part of the invisible hand.
So when you hear about something – a business practice (perhaps this one by Amazon will do it for you) that ticks you off, do something about it. Say something. Change a buying habit. Tell others. Complain.
When you act, so can the invisible hand.