Is Free Enterprise Values in Action? A Project Précis
MORAL MARKETS: THE CRITICAL ROLE OF VALUES IN THE ECONOMY, Paul J. Zak, ed., Princeton University Press, 2007
15 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2006
This collection of papers is part of the Values In Free Enterprise project organized by the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research. The program brought together a highly interdisciplinary team of leading experts, in fields ranging from business, economics, primatology, philosophy and law, to answer the question, Do values matter in a free enterprise system? During a series of six conferences, we looked at genes and animal models, law and economics, philosophy and neuroscience, to support our proposition that values such as honesty, trust and fair play are essential to the modern free-market economies. The centrality of values has been missed both by supporters of free markets, who too often focus on unbridled self-interest, and by their detractors, who argue that economic exchange devalues our humanity. Project participants battle this so-called cartoon model, and conclude, by contrast, that values are essential to both personal and impersonal exchange. Further, some argue that market exchange itself can elevate human dignity and freedom - i.e., a virtuous circle is possible.
In addition to the publication of the papers and commentary on this SSRN research platform, this project has culminated in a scholarly volume which will include these papers, entitled Moral Markets: the Critical Role of Values in the Economy (forthcoming, Princeton University Press, estimated Spring 2007). Further activities in the program include two debates set for the Spring of 2007 (one in London, one in New York; details to be provided at www.gruterinstitute.org) as well as additional popular and academic publications. For further information on this project, please see www.gruterinstitute.org.
This project was made possible by significant funding from the John Templeton Foundation, UCLA-Sloan Research Program on Business Organizations, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
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