Time to bite the ‘invisible hand’ that purports to feed you
Do you ever get the feeling that somebody or something is looking after you?
That time you felt as if you had to ride back to London on your motorbike and the M40 was the safe option and something was telling you that you’d die if you took the M4?
Or if you climbed to the Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal wearing Blundstones and not ‘proper’ boots then you’d be OK? Moreover if you walked across the earlier avalanche, and not around it, then you’d still be OK?
We’ve all been there.
Whether somebody or something is or is not looking after you depends on what suits your agenda. Some call it the Hand of God or determinism or even cite the spiritual world, but in economics there is something called the ‘invisible hand’.
This is an evanescent metaphor that says the bourgeoisie are always happy to further their own self-interest, but in donig so will automatically further the public interest.
Don’t mention trickle-down economics or our previous Sub-Prime Minister, but such a phenomenon doesn’t sound right to me at all, something self-serving that can be manipulated by whoever decides to use it. But it’s very trendy right now to mention it.
The phrase was apparently first referenced in 8AD in Ovid’s Metamorphoses with “there in his vitals twisted and plied his invisible hand” when referring to the unfortunate gutting of a centaur.
Centaur carcasses besides, the invisible hand is better known for being espoused by Adam Smith in his seminal economics work The Wealth Of Nations, but its use divides analysts and commentators and their aforesaid self-serving.
The week, of course, has been a coruscating one as fud beat up hodl and crypto-haters poured out of their foxholes to declare crypto dead especially as those traditional institutions that had invested in FTX (and crypto) wrote off their investments.
Not as if anybody in the crypto world were bothered about that. Crypto has always been a self-sustaining community that has never needed an invisible hand to define it.
If you do believe in invisible hands then the news the next day that US inflation wasn’t as bad as first thought and crypto markets bounced back strongly would have invigorated your belief.
At time of writing I can’t be bothered to see whether the markets are green or red, but I prefer to bite, not nourish, the invisible hand that pretends to feed me.
I believe that when it comes to money, there is no spirituality or weirdness, it’s just numbers and common sense, the only invisible hand is the one that chokes with poverty and where most people started in life.
That’s the lottery of birth and while some people make it up and through, most don’t, unless they learn about money and use the system instead of fighting against it.
Crypto has been here before as much as the Amazon share price fluctuated wildly during the early days of the now-infected internet. Crypto doesn’t need an invisible hand to save it from drowning, it will keep on breathing, sometimes with deep, panickly gasps; at others with placid, deep breaths.
I would prefer to use the phrase ‘some you win, some you lose’ rather than any invisible hand, but there’s no way I’m ever going to ride down the M4 rather than the M40 when I get the ‘feeling’.
And I’m not going to gut a centaur either. That way lies madness.
Monty Munford is a tech journalist and an advisor for the DeFi privacy organisation Sienna Network and in the past decade his consultancy has helped more than 40 companies raise money/exit for a total of £1.4 billion.
He is also a keynote speaker/emcee/moderator/interviewer and has spoken at more than 200 global events interviewing figures such as Tim Draper, the late John McAfee, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak (twice in Beirut and Vienna), Kim Kardashian (once in Armenia), Amitabh Bachchan, Ghostface Killah, ZZ Top, Guns N’ Roses and many others.
He was previously a weekly tech columnist for Forbes in New York, the Telegraph in the UK and continues to write regularly for the BBC, The Economist and… City AM.