I’ve started reading Hubris: Why economists failed to predict the crisis and how to avoid the next one, by Meghnad Desai. It has this great quotation I’d forgotten (some time since I read it) from Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments:
“The man of the 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. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it.”
Echoes, too, of the fabulous Seeing Like A State by James Scott.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Penguin Classics) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (The Institution for Social and Policy St)