Economic and Policy Supply Chain: The “Non-Invisible Hand”

Adam Smith is famous for coining the phrase the “Invisible Hand” to suggest the collective transparent forces of a market that works together as a whole based on the self-interest of participating members. He only used the phrase a handful of times, but it’s a term we all associate with the famous theorist. See the following excerpt:

“Every individual… neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it… he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, 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.”

We can leave the economic theory and philosophizing for another day. Clearly, it’s valuable – much of what occupies the daily toils of the typical procurement or supply chain manager is directly tied to the broader trade of goods, services and ideas, and ultimately, the pursuit of profit and returns based on the collective set of activities. But today, it’s equally as important to consider the “Non-Invisible Hand” and how it impacts our priorities and overall goals.

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