The Intangible Hand in Profile

Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit

in The Economy of Esteem

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199246489
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601460 | DOI:
The Intangible Hand in Profile

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The economics of esteem can have a normative as well as a positive aspect, directing us to lessons in institutional design and policy-making. The case for this view is set out in these final chapters fairly abstractly, since the empirical groundwork for a more detailed program in institutional design is just not available. The economy of esteem, when it works for good, is an intangible hand that operates in parallel to the invisible hand of the market and the iron hand of the state. Intangible-hand regulation promises to be a particularly attractive and effective way for society to arrange its affairs. In particular, it promises to be more attractive and more effective in a number of respects than the more familiar alternatives.

Keywords: civil society; institutional design; intangible hand; invisible hand

Chapter.  10201 words. 

Subjects: Microeconomics

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