The very justification of a Human Complex System’s approach to the operation of human societies, implying a continuous explanatory spectrum from the individual (particle) to the cultural or societal levels (field), is offered by Hegel when he writes in Reason in History (*) that
… human actions in history produce additional results, beyond their immediate purpose and attainment, beyond their immediate knowledge and desire. They gratify their own interests; but something more is thereby accomplished, which is latent in the action though not present in their consciousness and not included in their design.
Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” at work in the markets would then be but one instance of such “cunning of reason.” It is then the more perplexing that the same economists whose analyses most assume the self-regulatory operation of such an “invisible hand” are also those who staunchly commit themselves to a principle of “methodological individualism” implying that there is nothing more to see in the economy than the outcome of the individual economic agents’ rational behavior.
Or is it instead that they are fully aware of the presence of a “something more thereby accomplished” but would rather not know about its precise nature?
(*) Posthumously published in 1837.