By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)1
Didn't they get up a corner on rabbits in Japan about a year ago, and the seventeen millions of Japs went mad and put their every dollar in from the daimios down to the coolies? They just did, and I believe royalty itself took a few chances on cotton tails.
New York Times (1875)2
An enormous system of social control is required to maintain the laissez-faire, the ‘free’ play of self-interest, of a capitalist nation-state.
Marshall Sahlins, Waiting for Foucault, Still (1993)3
Japan's first government of the modern period promoted what was, for Japan, a radical idea: the market pursuit of private gain bolstered by economic laissez-faire.4 As...