One of the most astonishing features of social, economic, and political life is that large-scale patterns, structures, and behavioral regularities sometimes develop without anyone intentionally planning their occurrence, or without anyone deliberately working to bring them about. They evolve as a specific kind of unintended consequence of human action. They are the result of invisible hands. Building on Adam Smith's classic concept of "the invisible hand," this study presents a general approach, based on the theory of games and evolutionary theory, to explain such large-scale unintended consequences within markets, communities, and the state.</p> This analysis by Nils Karlson is further used to explain the growth of the modern "welfare" state. It shows how an unconstrained democratic state through two distinct invisible-hand processes, the logic of conceit and the logic of opportunism, may develop into a "equilibrium" state, "The State of State." His work moves classic political economy into the world of political sociology.</p> A normative contractual model is presented and the relative desirability of the state, markets, and communities is discussed. A major conclusion is that it is a choice between imperfect alternatives, involving decisions about more or less, rather than absolute judgments of an either/or variety. It is nevertheless suggested that society ought to be radically depoliticized and that constitutional constraints should be introduced in the universe of policy-making.