A Book To Add To The Reading List

On “Adam’s Fallacy:” Economics: The Invisible Hand of the Market

So what is “Adam’s Fallacy”? (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 “in which the pursuit of self-interest is guided by objective laws to a socially beneficent outcome,” Professor Foley wrote, a realm unlike all the rest of social life, “in which the pursuit of self-interest is morally problematic and has to be weighed against other ends.”

“This separation of an economic sphere,” he wrote, “with 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.”

Professor Foley’s book is simultaneously an introduction to economic theory and a critique of it.