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Moral Capital and Commercial Society


Suri Ratnapala


The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law

January, 19 2009

The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 213-233, 2003
University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 09-07

Abstract:     
This paper examines the idea of moral capital in relation to commerce. Moral capital is found in the form of justice, beneficence and temperance. These concepts are explained and distinguished from related ideas of social capital and human capital. Following Hume, Smith and Hayek, the author treats justice and commerce as aspects of the same evolutionary process and challenges the traditional mistrust of commerce on moral grounds. The paper discusses the ways in which commerce strengthens morality and explains why the state can enforce justice but cannot practice or enforce beneficence without harm to justice. The discussion is concluded with some thoughts about the depletion of moral capital in rich and poor countries.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: Moral capital, justice, beneficence, co-evolution of law and commerce, evolutionary jursiprudence

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Date posted: January 20, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Ratnapala, Suri, Moral Capital and Commercial Society (January, 19 2009). The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 213-233, 2003; University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 09-07. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1330270

Contact Information

Suri Ratnapala (Contact Author)
The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )
The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia
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