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Invisible Hand

In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith notes an important principle of capitalism - that an individual acting for his own good is also acting for the good of his community. He attributed this principle to a force called the Invisible Hand.

Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it...He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of his intention. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

A very religious man, Adam Smith also likened the invisible hand to the hand of God.