Reuters reports on Mr Obama's speech:
The economy cannot sustain "21st century markets with 20th century regulations," Obama told reporters after the meeting with lawmakers.
"If we once again guide the market's invisible hand with a higher principle, our markets will recover, our economy will once again thrive and America will once again lead the world in this new century as it did in the last," he said.
Adam Smith believed that the market's invisible hand ought to be guided by individuals acting out of enlightened self-interest. Everyone is better off if everyone acts in self-interest (the parable of the butcher, the baker, etc); as an ethics professor, Smith implied that everyone acted in self-interest to benefit the community. He did not mean that when everyone acted in self-interest without regard for the community, society would still somehow benefit.
Mr Obama's "higher principle" is Smith and his liberal contemporaries' "enlightened self-interest."
Darwin, in his essay The Moral Sense of Man and the Lower Animals, distinguished between two types of instinct: "higher" and "lower". Over the course of his essay, Darwin empirically demonstrates the existence of two distinct types of morality that are instinctive in both animals and mankind: the kind of instinct that leads animals to care for their fellow species, and the kind of instinct that leads animals to care for themselves possibly at the expense of their fellow species.
Darwin wrote that, "man can generally and readily distinguish between the higher and lower moral rules. The higher are founded on the social instincts, and relate to the welfare of others. They are supported by the approbation of our fellow men and by reason. The lower rules...relate chiefly to self."