The Theory of Social Cooperation Historically and Robustly Contemplated

39 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2012 Last revised: 17 May 2014

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Daniel J. Smith

Political Economy Research Institute and Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University

Date Written: May 16, 2014

Abstract

Early efforts to tame man’s passions going back to antiquity focused on the repression of those passions. As the political and social sciences emerged, the argumentative focus shifted from repressing to harnessing man's passions. This is what produced the discovery of the "invisible hand" within the market society. While the "invisible hand" argument was initially focused on the ability of commerce to generate cooperation and ameliorate conflict among strangers, it gradually came to be exclusively associated with a sort of ruthless efficiency and the obtainment of optimality conditions. We attempt to recapture the doux-commerce thesis and its relevance for contemporary debates over commerce and culture.

Keywords: doux commerce thesis, social cooperation, civil society

JEL Classification: B12, B40

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Smith, Daniel J., The Theory of Social Cooperation Historically and Robustly Contemplated (May 16, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2173338 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2173338

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Daniel J. Smith (Contact Author)

Political Economy Research Institute and Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University ( email )

MTSU Box 190
1301 E. Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37132-0001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danieljosephsmith.com/

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