A Social Morality for Mortals

A Review Essay of 'The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bounded World'

Originally published in Review of Austrian Economics

This essay praises Gerald Gaus’s The Order of Public Reason as a building block for all normative explorations into the institutional foundations of human sociability. It evaluates the normative implications put forth by Gaus in terms of the Kirzner’s “finder’s keeper’s ethic.” This raises a question about the relationship between the moral order and the political order that underlies market processes. Examining the role of entrepreneurship in the market process in relation to Kirzner’s “finder’s keeper’s principle” suggests a deeper ethical foundation that underpins the institutional conditions of “social morality.”