Is Entrepreneurship a Virtue?

19 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Robert C.B. Miller

Robert C.B. Miller

IEA, Institute of Economic Affairs, U.K.

Date Written: June 2019


Entrepreneurship is rarely (if ever) discussed by virtue ethicists. And economists analysing entrepreneurship have rarely described it as a virtue. Entrepreneurship is indeed a virtue and the entrepreneur can be seen as the creative counterpart of Aristotle's ‘Magnificent Man’, the virtuous possessor of wealth. But entrepreneurship is also a virtue for anyone who is economically active. By reviewing analyses of entrepreneurship by economists such as Cantillon, Schumpeter, Knight, Baumol, Kirzner and Casson, particular features of entrepreneurial practice are identified from which characteristic virtues (and vices) are isolated and analysed. The characteristic features of the vicious Entrepreneur (or crooked businessman) are also described.

Keywords: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, Philanthropist, risk‐bearing, role model, virtue

JEL Classification: A13, P12

Suggested Citation

Miller, Robert C.B., Is Entrepreneurship a Virtue? (June 2019). Economic Affairs, Vol. 39, Issue 2, pp. 197-215, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Robert C.B. Miller (Contact Author)

IEA, Institute of Economic Affairs, U.K. ( email )

2 Lord North Street
London SW1P 3LB
United Kingdom

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