Invisible hands & social harmony

“Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, as he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of society more effectively 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.”
~Adam Smith~ An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Paradise in China: YiWu, Supermarket to the World

Hangzhou, China with its idyllic West Lake is reputed to be “paradise on earth”. Its natural beauties have attracted artists, philosophers and bon vivants for many centuries.

By contrast, neighboring YiWu is visited by many more people, despite a lack of any historical monuments of note or significant natural beauty

Even so, YiWu is a paradise for people eager to engage in peaceful trading that occurs within an amazing & extensive network of structures that are a marvel. At least 500,000 different items are sold to purchasers from all corners of the globe.

The offerings are so great & the facilities so sprawling that it is said that if one spends only 3 minutes in each stall, it would take 3 years to visit them all.

In improving the lives of so many other people by engaging in trade, it is likely that YiWu boasts more millionaires per square meter than any place in the world.