On “Adam’s Fallacy:” Economics: The Invisible Hand of the Market
So what is â€œAdamâ€™s Fallacyâ€? (The author, who is the Leo Model professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, always capitalizes the term.)
It is the idea that the economic sphere of life constitutes a separate realm â€œin which the pursuit of self-interest is guided by objective laws to a socially beneficent outcome,â€ Professor Foley wrote, a realm unlike all the rest of social life, â€œin which the pursuit of self-interest is morally problematic and has to be weighed against other ends.â€
â€œThis separation of an economic sphere,â€ he wrote, â€œwith its presumed specific principles of organization, from the much messier, less determinate and morally more problematic issues of politics, social conflict and values, is the foundation of political economy and economics as an intellectual discipline.â€
Professor Foleyâ€™s book is simultaneously an introduction to economic theory and a critique of it.