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Morals of Markets and Related Essays, The

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A robust and convincing answer to many normative charges against the free market.
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Harry Burrows Acton (1908-1974) taught political philosophy at Bedford College (London), the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Chicago; was editor of Philosophy, the influential journal of the British Royal Institute of Philosophy.

This is his robust and convincing answer to many normative charges against the free market. It is said that the market, depending on the profit motive, encourages selfishensss and avarice, and, in addition, exalts these vices into virtues.

But Acton says this view implies a condemnation of all human action that maximizes individual interest, including that of consumers seeking lower prices and workers seeking higher wages. He counters that it is morally permissable to to look after one's own interest, especially when doing so involves cooperative agreement with others.

Moreover, markets do not determine aims and motives. Market activity expresses whatever aims, motives, and ideals market participants have, whether based on virtue or vice. At the same time, he argues, the free market is a necessary condition for the pursuit of moral excellence.

Market players do not "take advantage of each other"; they take actions that are based on agreement between buyer and seller and thus serve as a nexus for peace and mutual betterment.

The introduction is by David Gordon and Jeremy Shearmur.


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ISBN 9780865971073
Binding PB
Page Length 286
Publication Date 1993
Publisher Liberty Fund Inc.
Dimensions 5.5" x 8"
Edition 2nd

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