Are Markets Moral?

Originally published in The Independent Review

Today, very few doubt the ability of capitalism and the market to bring about economic prosperity. But as our societies became more prosperous, people noticed what they identified as instances of unbridled greed on Wall Street, the collapse of the family and community, and a breakdown of traditional social norms and values. Arthur M. Melzer and Steven J. Kautz’s timely and essential collection Are Markets Moral? investigates the morality of markets. It centers around two fundamental questions about markets and morality: Are the fundamental principles of capitalism in conflict with morality? Or does capitalism demand morality? This volume is driven by the desire to examine whether our chosen economic system makes us better or worse human beings as our societies grow more prosperous and have access to more things. If there existed an alternative economic system that could not only make us richer but also better human beings (or if we could tweak our existing system to better suit our moral needs), why would we not want that system instead? Are Markets Moral? allows us the space to assess whether we are and should feel comfortable with capitalism.

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