Whatever the status and meaning of his “invisible hand”, Adam Smith claims that a visible hand may control our actions in society1. The visible hand, belonging to the man of system, appears in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (hereafter TMS)2: “The man of system . . . seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board” (TMS VI.ii.17). Unlike the invisible hand, which is usually interpreted as operating to the benefi t of everyone in society, the visible hand of the TMS is used to benefi t only the man of system, who “is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it” (TMS VI.ii.17).