Home » Business & Finance » Steven G. Medema » The Hesitant Hand

July 24 , 2009

The Hesitant Hand

Taming Self-Interest in the History of Economic Ideas


Adam Smith turned economic theory on its head in 1776 when he declared that the pursuit of self-interest mediated by the market itself – not by government – led, via an invisible hand, to the greatest possible welfare for society as a whole. The Hesitant Hand examines how subsequent economic thinkers have challenged or reaffirmed Smith's doctrine, some contending that society needs government to intervene on its behalf when the marketplace falters, others arguing that government interference ultimately benefits neither the market nor society.

Download doc

Read also

Zombie Blondes

From the moment Hannah Sanders arrived in town, she felt there was something wrong. A lot of houses were for sale, and the town seemed infected by an unearthly quiet. And then, on Hannah's first day of classes, she ran into a group of cheerleaders—the most popular girls in school. The odd thing was that they were nearly identical in…

Steven Medema explores what has been perhaps the central controversy in modern economics from Smith to today. He traces the theory of market failure from the 1840s through the 1950s and subsequent attacks on this view by the Chicago and Virginia schools. Medema follows the debate from John Stuart Mill through the Cambridge welfare tradition of Henry Sidgwick, Alfred Marshall, and A. C. Pigou, and looks at Ronald Coase's challenge to the Cambridge approach and the rise of critiques affirming Smith's doctrine anew. He shows how, following the marginal revolution, neoclassical economists, like the preclassical theorists before Smith, believed government can mitigate the adverse consequences of self-interested behavior, yet how the backlash against this view, led by the Chicago and Virginia schools, demonstrated that self-interest can also impact government, leaving society with a choice among imperfect alternatives.

The Hesitant Hand demonstrates how government's economic role continues to be bound up in questions about the effects of self-interest on the greater good.

Show more...

How to download book

Buy this book

You can buy this book now only for $23.79. This is the lowest price for this book.

Buy book

Download book free

If you want to download this book for free, please register, approve your account and get one book for free.


After that you may download book «The Hesitant Hand»:

Download PDF:


Download TXT:


Download XML Book: