invisible hand


Definition of invisible hand 

: a hypothetical economic force that in a freely competitive market works for the benefit of all

Examples of invisible hand in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

After years of paddling against headwinds and currents, the engine felt like an invisible hand pushing the canoe along. Porter Fox, New York Times, "On a Canoe Trip Along the U.S.-Canada Border, Solitude and Shooting Stars," 20 June 2018 Like an invisible hand, the microwaves hold the car in place. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "High-Powered Microwave Ray Gun Can Stall Cars, Trucks​​," 26 Apr. 2018 And, in fact, my mother-in-law only just learned about the invisible hand two days ago. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "No More Maybe," 12 Mar. 2018 Other people have also apparently felt the physicality of an invisible hand on their back. Monica Drake, Longreads, "Doomed in Nashville," 5 Mar. 2018 For 15 long seconds, the winds punched through the windows and pelted the people with pieces of trees and homes and dreams, peeled tiles off the ceiling, and tugged at them like a great, invisible hand trying to turn the church inside out. Southern Living, "What Stands in a Storm, Part I: Faith," 12 July 2011 The looming free agency of the game’s premier is the invisible hand guiding the Cavs’ decision-making. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "As the NBA World Turns: Kyrie Irving to the Celtics and Isaiah Thomas to the Cavaliers," 22 Aug. 2017 That invisible hand is reaching over the Appalachians, from the Palmetto State to Rocky Top once again. David Caraviello, ajc, "Another year, another South Carolina season that could turn on a trip to Tennessee," 9 Oct. 2017 Kaller directs with an invisible hand, deftly moving her sprawling cast through fluid scene transitions. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Our Town': Theater Review," 2 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'invisible hand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of invisible hand

1759, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of invisible hand was in 1759

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More Definitions for invisible hand

invisible hand


Financial Definition of invisible hand

What It Is

The invisible hand refers to the self-regulating nature of the marketplace in determining how resources are allocated based on individuals acting in their own self-interest.

How It Works

Coined by classical economist Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, the invisible hand refers to an unseen mechanism that maintains equilibrium between the supply and demand of resources. Smith states that the invisible hand functions by virtue of the innate inclination among free market participants to maximize their well-being. As market participants compete, driven by their own needs and wants, they involuntarily benefit society at large.

Smith envisioned the invisible hand as eliminating the need for market intervention on the part of government. Moreover, such regulatory action, Smith believed, would only be detrimental to market efficiency.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: Adam Smith & the Wealth of Nations: The Birth of Economics]

Why It Matters

Adam Smith's invisible hand theory set the foundation for laissez-faire economic philosophy, which argues that government intervention in the marketplace is unnecessary. Instead, changes in demand for resources automatically result in price adjustments without the need for regulation.

Source: Investing Answers

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