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Capitalism and Commerce: Conceptual Foundations of Free Enterprise Paperback – September, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0739103814 ISBN-10: 0739103814

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739103814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739103814
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,313,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Capitalism rests on a moral foundation, like the rest of civilization. Edward W. Younkins has done an extraordinary job of explicating that foundation, in an impressive and much-needed work. (Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., The Ludwig von Mises Institute)

The book magisterially fulfills its promise. It is well-written and concise, and it presents all the fundamental arguments that anybody who supports the capitalist system should know about. (Martin Masse, The Ludwig von Mises Institute)

Edward Youkins has made a real contribution to our understanding of the moral underpinnings of the economic sstem that accompanies our way of life. And he has done so just when we needed it most. (Yuval Levin, staff member, President's Council on Bioethics)

Capitalism and Commerce is far more than its altogether too modest subtitle Conceptual Foundations of Free Enterprise indicates. Yes, the book covers this topic with thoroughness, eloquence, and wisdom, but it also touches upon just about every question or criticism that anyone has ever made about the morality or practicality of free enterprise. . . . This book is a tour de force presentation of the case for economic freedom. (Walter Block, Loyola University, New Orleans)

[Capitalism and Commerce] is a powerful, scholarly antidote to all the shallow, politically-correct business bashing that is so prevalent in academe and the media. (Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Loyola College of Maryland)

Youkins' Capitalism and Commerce will shake up anyone who has become too comfortable with the status quo of bigger government. And, most of all, it motivates readers to exact an honest measure of their freedom and question how much, or how little, freedom they really have left. (The State Journal)

Capitalism and Commerce points out that what it takes to be successful in a capitalist society is being able to please others, and as a system, capitalism encourages moral behavior. It should be read by every journalist in America. (Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale College)

Younkins' book is a quite a tour de force through classical liberal views on production and exchange activities of people, as well as on some sweeping philosophical history. His views will appeal to, and be embraced by, individuals with classical liberal sensibilities (Charles W. Baird, California State University, Hayward)

A fine statement of the moral and economic arguments for capitalism (David Boaz, Cato Institute)

In Capitalism and Commerce Professor Younkins has drawn from a wide range of old and new literature in the classical liberal tradition to articulate—patiently and thoroughly—the intellectual foundation of the free society. For the student or interested business professional, his presentation is valuable exposition of invaluable ideas. (Jeffrey Tucker, The Ludwig von Mises Institute)

Making use of the literature of liberty, Younkins provides a very clear, concise, and accessible introduction to the conceptual foundations of capitalism and a free society. (Chris Matthew Sciabarra, New York University; author of Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism)

A welcome moral play, an antidote to a rising tirade of business-and-capitalism-bashing amid a rash of corporate scandals.... Hopefully "Capitalism and Commerce" will attract intellectuals on the left and right here and abroad to rectify or reinforce their own thinking. (The Washington Times)

[This] work stands out in its field, and will no doubt become a contemporary classic in the not-too-distant future. It should be read by every student, business professional, politician, and journalist in America and should be part of every college curriculum. (Le Quebécois Libre)

About the Author

Edward W. Younkins is Professor of Accountancy and Business Administration at Wheeling Jesuit University. He is the editor of Michael Novak's Three in One: Essays on Democratic Capitalism, 1976-2000 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001)

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Customer Reviews

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I found Dr. Younkins' book very easy to read and understand.
S. Twigg
Dr. Younkins is brilliant in his explanation of capitalism, and presents arguments that are routed in morals and individual choices.
Luke Annett
Edward Younkins' new book, Capitalism and Commerce, is an impressive work on modern social and economic policy.
Timothy M. McKeen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. McKeen on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Edward Younkins' new book, Capitalism and Commerce, is an impressive work on modern social and economic policy. However, what makes this book a true masterpiece is the philosophic foundation that Dr. Younkins provides to support his political and economic claims. This link between philosophy and economics is reminiscent of the works of Adam Smith.
Dr. Younkins contends that the basis for society should be individual liberty and that people have certain inalienable negative rights. He argues that the individual is a moral agent, and brilliantly lays the foundation for free trade.
Another superb aspect of this book is the author's writing style. He has great command of language and is able to write in a style that is straightforward and easy to comprehend. He gets right to the crux of issues and makes this book entertaining to read, a direct contrast to many others who create a tedious and dull reading process.
If one has any interest in political economy or philosophy, this book is an absolute must. It provides brilliant commentaries on contemporary issues such as environmentalism, tariffs, and many others. Capitalism and Commerce is truly a remarkable work, one that is both enjoyable and insightful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Martin Masse on October 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is today a strong presence of free-market ideas in public debates. Although collectivist ideologies still dominate the academic world, they have been on the defensive for quite some time, following the systematic disintegration of all their utopian promises. More people are finding alternative interpretations on the Internet. And if this trend towards a better understanding of libertarian ideas and values is to continue, it will be in part because of books like Capitalism and Commerce: Conceptual Foundations of Free Enterprise, by Edward Younkins.

As Younkins writes in his Preface, "In a world of change, the viability of the market economy is at stake unless those who live and participate within it possess a rational understanding and appreciation of its underlying concepts and values. Present and future participants in the business system need to have access to a "bank" of fundamental ideas that provide the groundwork for the free enterprise system this book provides such a bank. Its purpose is to be a clear, consistent, and accessible introduction and guide for anyone wishing to pursue the study of the theoretical and moral foundations of capitalism."

The book magisterially fulfills its promise. It is well-written and concise, and it presents all the fundamental arguments that anybody who supports the capitalist system should know about. Its 29 chapters cover all the main aspects of a free society: individual rights, civil society, private property, the corporation, entrepreneurship, etc. Younkins also devotes 10 chapters to refuting various ideologies and criticizing arrangements like protectionism and antitrust laws that are "Obstacles to a Free Society.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Greene VINE VOICE on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
The problem nowadays with discourse on political and economic issues is that there is much confusion over the definition of terms. Two groups demand rights but they're in conflict because one group wants welfare rights while the other wants liberty rights. Whose claim for rights is legitimate? Well, that all depends on what is the definition of a right.

Younkins' wonderful contribution with this work is not only to demonstrate that words like `rights', `justice', and `dignity' have specific meanings, but from the view point that man prefers freedom over slavery, he eloquently lays out the ontological framework of a free society.

Today many would argue that there's a natural tension between `rights' and `justice' with a tendency for one to happen at the expense of the other. That is not true, according to Younkins. He argues that when these terms are properly understood within the context a free society, they not only fulfill their roles unfettered, they work symbiotically towards producing a happy society.

Younkins covers much in his work and in the process he clears the fog by defining the role of the law, government, corporations, education, etc. within a free society. Younkins book is so systematic, consistent and thorough that it can be used as a litmus test to measure the degree of freedom within a particular society.

My only criticism of this work (and it is very minor) is that though his intended audience are lay persons in philosophy, economics and political science, Younkins' language does get a bit recondite at times. But overall this is thoughtful and brilliant work from a fine scholar. Every person who cares and thinks about sustaining a free society must have this work included in their library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Patrick on October 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
In Capitalism and Commerce, the fundamental concepts of a free-market economy are thoroughly discussed and extensively examined. The book is written in a manner that is easily understood, yet remains extremely thought provoking through the presentation of its content. While seemingly written as a philosophy book, Capitalism and Commerce offers much more. Through commentary on morality, law, justice, the common good, work, and personal flourishing and happiness, Dr. Younkins creates a work that brilliantly articulates what many people have a difficult time explaining when it comes to the roots of capitalism. Each chapter builds upon the last; yet, Dr. Younkins has also cunningly written each chapter as an end in itself. Other works are referenced throughout the text, giving the reader a more concise description of the instruments found in capitalism. Also, at the end of each chapter the reader is greeted with a list of recommended readings, serving as a wonderful segway for further reference and/or enjoyment. Upon completion of Capitalism and Commerce, any person will have a clear and definite understanding of what it means to live in a capitalistic society; this, in itself, is priceless.
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