The Invisible Hand vs The Visible Hand

The Invisible Hand vs The Visible Hand

The principle of the Invisible Hand is a term in Economics popularised by Adam Smith, of the Classical School of Thought. It is used to describe a scenario where every individual is allowed to pursue his economic survival with zero organized interference. That in the long run, ceteris paribus (meaning all things being equal), it would lead to equilibrium in the distribution of incomes. A laissez faire economy.

But in the long run, mutatis mutandis (meaning all things not equal), it failed. It led to the severest global recession dubbed the Great Depression of 1932. No solution was in sight until the emergence of the Keynesians. They advocated for organized regulations of economic activities that will achieve collective goals instead of individual goals. This was the beginning of government regulations of the economy with its numerous benefits.

Adam Smith wrote his theory by observation of human economic behavior. Today such behavior subsist in our communities. Worse, even the government has failed us. Our individual and institutional failure has made our country less desirable to pursue our destinies. If everyone leaves who will fix things. Is it rational to want to stay in a neighbours house because you  failed to maintain your house? The human race started together. The countries we run to did not drop from heaven; the citizens fixed it. Besides, they do not want us there. An African adage says, “No matter how long a log of wood lies on water it will never become a crocodile.”

It’s time we change our mentality and attitude. Nation building is not the exclusive preserve of those in government. Citizens have greater responsibility. I love Nigeria. I believe in our potential. I beseech us to be more patriotic with civic duties. Let us start fixing our communities. There is so much paralysis and dysfunction. Our communities are full of challenges that would make anyone a celebrity when solved. We are always quick to accuse the government for our mess. We need the proliferation of local NGOs and other groups to solve real problems. If we do not act no one will.

On a final note, at this auspicious time, I can hear the groaning of many looking for true leadership. They await the sound of the horn. The sound of the Corps Volunteers for Change. We cannot afford to fail their expectations. Like the Keynesians that pulled the global economy from the abyss of the trade cycle, let us get to work by making our hands visible by pulling our communities from the dungeon of unsustainable development.

Let’s make Nigeria great!


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