Il principio della “mano invisibile” del mercato è stato introdotto da Adam Smith nella sua opera “Indagine sulla natura e le cause della Ricchezza delle Nazioni”: 

“…As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value… He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it… and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good…”