The Moral Meanings of Markets
Journal of Markets and Morality, 15 (2) 2012
17 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2013
Date Written: Fall 2012
Market supporters have consistently emphasized that markets make it so that self-interested or even greedy individuals can only help themselves by serving their fellow men and women. This channeling of self-interest away from predation and toward profit seeking explains why market economies tend to be materially prosperous. Yet if markets only succeed in providing a wealth of goods and services at the cost of turning people into myopic hedonists, then it might very well be reasonable to despise them. The moral meanings of markets, however, are not suspect. This article offers a critique of the traditional defenses of the morality of markets and explains how markets depend on and promote virtue.
Keywords: morals, markets, morality, virtue
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