Adam Smith never said anything like: ‘the common good emerges when everybody works for their own selfish interest’... In fact, Smith never spoke favourably of selfishness. Richard confuses him with Ayn Rand (1960s) or even Bernard Mandeville (1734). They both lauded selfishness (Rand by making it a virtue and Mandeville by making it a social compulsion – ‘private vice, public benefits’). But not Adam Smith; he called Mandeville's theory 'licentious'. [Friends Like Richard Are No Help At All from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy]
Adam Smith never endorsed a policy of, or the behaviour of, greed. That is to confuse Adam Smith with Bernard Mandeville, author of the Fable of the Bees, 1734 (written over the years 1704 to 1737), who made greed a private vice but a public good. [Folly Of Relying on Poor Teaching from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy]
I am familiar with the works of Adam Smith and know something about his use of the metaphor of ‘an invisible hand’, which he used once in 1759 in The Theory of Moral Sentiments at TMS IV.1.10: p 184, and once in 1776 in Wealth Of Nations (short-title) at: Book IV.ii.9: page 456. He also, for the record referred to ‘the invisible hand of Jupiter’ in an essay, unpublished in his lifetime, known by its short-title as History of Astronomy, when he described the ‘pusillanimous superstition’ in pagan societies. In none of these cases was his use of an invisible hand metaphor anything to do with how simple price markets work. Indeed, the operation of market choice is so simple that your charming six-year-old daughter can understand how they work. [from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy]
Some things are sufficiently constant in human affairs - and self-interest, even greed, is among them - that they explain nothing.
"Greed" certainly can be unleashed to do harm, but it can also be harnessed to do good. [Donald J. Boudreaux "Greed" Is Not an Explanation from Cafe Hayek]
The fact is that the relationships each of us has with our fellow citizens overwhelmingly are of the arm’s-length, impersonal variety. They are market relationships, governed chiefly by self-interest on both sides of each exchange. They are not the sorts of personal relationships that guide decisions made within households. They are, indeed, precisely the sorts of relationships that each of us has with strangers from foreign countries. [The Nation Is Not a Housefrom Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux]
Let us rationally believe that social events do not happen suddenly like an earthquake. Those begin to crop from the seeds sown. I praise your efforts; at least the new generation may get opportunity to understand perspectives of events and social equations. -- Rabi Kanungo (Intellectual Forum)