Economic Morality

Economic Morality : Ancient to Modern Readings

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This volume provides an integrated and wide-ranging set of primary-source readings on the relationship between moral values and economic activity, as articulated by some of the leading figures in Western civilization. From the ancient Greeks to the present, Economic Morality: Ancient to Modern Readings offers substantial coverage to each major period of history: classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the modern era. Everything from Aristotle to Adam Smith, from Marx to Hayek, and from Proudhon to Nozick has been brought together in one comprehensive survey.

The perspectives represented in our volume include those of Christians and Muslims; Protestants, Catholics, and Jews; believers and non-believers; capitalists and socialists; conservatives and libertarians. They emphasize both law and mores, as well as history, philosophy, religion, and economics. This is a genuinely interdisciplinary volume, and one that invites a catholic and humanistic conversation.

In preparing this collection, the contributors aim to recover something of the range of moral opinion that first accompanied the rise of "economics" in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The loss of that range of opinion has left a troubling void in our academic and public discourse. Those who broadly embrace the modern economic project tend to view it pragmatically but not morally, while those who are more critical of it often end up in a moral monologue that is unsatisfying to all sides. By showing the optimistic pragmatists the rich tradition of moral criticism and the pessimistic critics the equally rich tradition of (qualified) moral approbation, this volume seeks to facilitate conversation and bring much-needed mutual comprehension to a perennial debate.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 392 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 703.06g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739192507
  • 9780739192504

Table of contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0000
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0000
PART ONE: Greeks and Romans
1.1 Plato, Republic, Bk. II.369-374, VIII.550-556
1.2 Plato, Laws, Bk. V.742-745, XI.913-920
1.3 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, I.4-5, 9-10, V.5
1.4 Aristotle, Politics, I.8-11
1.5 Cicero, De Officiis (On Duties), I.14, III.15-17
1.6 Ovid, "The Myth of King Midas" in Metamorphoses, Bk. XI.81-145
1.7 Plutarch "Of the Love of Wealth," in Moralia
1.8 Plutarch, "Life of Lycurgus," in Parallel Lives, 9-11
PART TWO: Religious Traditions
2.1 The Bible
The Old Testament: Deuteronomy 15:1-11, 23:19-20, Proverbs 11:28, 13:11
The Apocrypha: Sirach 26:29-30, 31:1-11, 38:24-34
The New Testament: Matthew 6:19-33, 19:16-20:16, 22:16-22, 25:13-30,
John 2:13-16, Acts 2:42-47, ,4:31-35, I Timothy 6:9-10, II Thessalonians 3:7-10
2.2 Benedict of Nursia, ch. 48, "Of Daily Manual Labor," in The Rule of St. Benedict
2.3 Qur'an: Surah 2:261-281, Surah 4:29-40, Surah 9:34-35, Surah 102:1-8
2.4 Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon, Bk. 2, chs. 20 ("Mechanical Arts") and 23 ("Commerce")
2.5 Francis of Assisi, "Instances Against Money" in The Lives of St. Francis of Assisi by Thomas of Celano XXXV.65-XXXVIII.68
2.6 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, IIa IIae Q. 66 Art. 1-2, Q. 77 Art. 1-4
2.7 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, ch. 5, 1-2, 5-6, 8-9, 14
PART THREE: Renaissance and Reformation
3.1 Benedetto Cotrugli, Treatise on Merchandise, bk. 3
3.2 Thomas More, Utopia, final pages
3.3 Martin Luther, "On Trading and Usury"
PART FOUR: The Seventeenth Century
4.1 Hugo Grotius-The Rights of War and Peace, I: v-xi
4.2 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 13
4.3 Pieter De la Court, Political Maxims of the State of Holland, chs. 1, 14-15
4.4 John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, ch. 5, "Of Property"
PART FIVE: The Eighteenth Century
5.1 Bernard Mandeville, "The Grumbling Hive," in Fable of the Bees
5.2 Voltaire, "Presbyterianism" and "Commerce" in Philosophical Letters
5.3 Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, XX.1-2
5.4 David Hume, "Of Commerce," in Political Discourses
5.5 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality Among Men, pt. 2
5.6 Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, V.2.7-16
5.7 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, I.ii
PART SIX: The Nineteenth Century
6.1 Benjamin Constant, "On Ancient and Modern Liberty Compared"
6.2 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 2, bk. 2, pt. 2, chs. 2, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14
6.3 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, selections
6.4 Karl Marx, "Alienated (or `Estranged') Labor" in Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
6.5 Frederic Bastiat, The Law, selections
6.6 Henry Thoreau, "Economy" in Walden
6.7 Samuel Smiles, Self Help ch. 1, paras. 1-9
6.8 William Graham Sumner, "What Social Classes Owe Each Other"
6.9 Andrew Carnegie, "The Gospel of Wealth"
6.10 Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum," paras. 1-15, 19-20 34-38
PART SEVEN: The Twentieth Century
7.1 Georg Simmel, "Individual Freedom" in The Philosophy of Money, ch. 4
7.2 Max Weber, "The Spirit of Capitalism" in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
7.3 Marcel Mauss, "Moral Conclusions" in The Gift
7.4 John Maynard Keynes, "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren"
7.5 Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism: The Classical Tradition, ch. 1
7.6 Ayn Rand, "The Meaning of Money" in Atlas Shrugged, pt. II, ch. 2
7.7 Friedrich von Hayek, "The Moral Element in Free Enterprise"
7.8 Milton Friedman, "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits," New York Times Magazine, Sept. 13, 1970
7.9 John Rawls, "The Concept of Justice in Political Economy," in A Theory of Justice, ch. 5, 41
7.10 Robert Nozick, "Distributive Justice," in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pt. II, ch. 7
7.11 Daniel Bell, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, pt. 1, ch. 1.
7.12 Irving Kristol, "When Virtue Loses All Her Loveliness," in Two Cheers for Capitalism
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0000
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Review quote

Inequality or economic progress? Greed or wealth creation? Exploitation or mutually beneficial exchange? Virtue destroying or virtue enhancing? Today's debates always seem to come from diametrically opposite perspectives, but there is a rich tradition of debate about these topics that stretches back for centuries and has often featured more nuanced positions. Clark and Allison have assembled an array of those historical debates as an excellent way for students to enrich their understanding of the moral dimensions of economic growth. Whatever their perspective, readers will find their appreciation for the issues deepened and broadened. -- Ross Emmett, Michigan State University Economic Morality: Ancient to Modern Readings reveals the rich legacy of thought on the moral framework of economic institutions and practices-property, labor, money, markets, and the production of wealth. With readings spanning over two millennia, this rich and rewarding collection provides a uniquely valuable resource for students, scholars, and thoughtful citizens. -- Eugene Heath, Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York, New Paltz In Economic Morality: Ancient to Modern Readings, Henry C. Clark and Eric Allison introduce readers to the variety of ways in which thinkers have viewed the relationship of morality and economic life throughout history. To do this, they have superbly constructed a wide-ranging array of selections from the major periods in the Western past and from a diverse collection of philosophers, religious thinkers, economists and social commentators. The editors succeed in demonstrating how important it is to view this subject matter from many different lenses. The breadth of their collection illuminates the multiple types of perspectives from which the relationship between economics and morality can be seen. Designed to begin a conversation, this impressive volume will be of interest to anyone involved in the complex economic world that engages us all. -- Ed Younkins, Wheeling Jesuit University
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About Eric Allison

Henry C. Clark is a visiting professor in the Political Economy Project at Dartmouth College.

Eric Allison is the associate director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University.
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