One of my Christmas presents was Henry Hazlitt’s very excellent Economics in One Lesson. The essential point of this work is the importance of understanding the broader consequences of economic decisions, and not just the immediate effects.
For instance, certain spread-the-work policies do give jobs to more people, but without an actual increase in production no one has gained anything in terms of real wealth. Certain union policies regarding division of labor also create the same appearance. Union rules might make it necessary to hire two men to perform a job that could be efficiently completed by one. Yes, someone got a job out of it, but the customer spent more money than he needed to, which has a negative impact on his limited resources to benefit the economy in other ways. It is true that these kinds of policies can benefit certain individuals, but only at the expense of society as a whole.
These wider-reaching deleterious effects are what might be called the “unseen” effects of these policies. They are not invisible, mind you, but rather go unnoticed for whatever reason.
Perhaps the tendency for these kinds of things to go unseen explains the frequent false accusation that free market economics, and in particular Austrian economics, is atomistic. In truth, though, it seems as though the aforementioned make-work projects are the actual atomistic approaches, for they take account only of the most obvious effects of a given situation without realizing the broader consequences which are involved. They look at the benefit to one particular man or group and not at the consequences for the entire economy. That sounds pretty atomistic to me.