Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

American power: domestic and foreign

‘The invisible hand’

I thought E.J. Dionne Jr.’s review of the United States for the past 80 years was superb, even though it omitted some significant bad things in the “good” years (such as the long delay in ending racial segregation and the carpet bombing of civilians in World War II). [“American power, home and abroad,” Opinion, March 19.]

However, I believe there is a different way of viewing it. Dionne described some of what I am referring to in writing “And we fought poverty, for moral reasons, but also because we wanted to show the world that we could combine our market system with economic justice. We forget that we succeeded.”

It seems to me that worshippers of economist Adam Smith’s mysterious and magical “invisible hand” cannot possibly agree with that success. In his 1776 “The Wealth of Nations,” Smith proclaimed, “Every individual in pursuing his or her own good is led, as if by an invisible hand, to achieve the best good for all. Therefore any interference with free competition by government is almost certain to be injurious.”

Both have been tried in those 80 years, with Smith’s belief in magic ascendant in the last half but now being challenged. Conservatives’ unswerving belief in the invisible hand leaves them no choice but to claim that any current failure (such as the hidden hand’s inability to deliver that “best good for all”) must be due to either government interference or losers being too lazy to compete. Conservatives are now meeting to review their strategy for meeting the current challenge. However, they cannot choose anything other than trying to improve their evangelical advertising.

– Edward George, Renton

0 Comments | Topics: foreign policy, politics

COMMENTS

READER NOTE: Our commenting system has changed. Find out more.

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►