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The Commercial Society: Foundations and Challenges in a Global Age (Studies in Ethics and Economics) Paperback – December 25, 2006

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Ethics and Economics
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (December 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073911994X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739119945
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Commercial Society is one of those books which reminds us that commerce, trade, and free economies are deeply rooted in foundations that we tend to take for granted - until they disintegrate or are taken away. Gregg's message of commercial humanism is truly inspiring, and his warnings about its fragility bear repeating. (Robert A. Sirico, President, Acton Institute)

So much of Latin America continues to suffer the ravages of mercantile, neo-corporatist attitudes, policies, and institutions. Unless there is an systematic embrace of the type of moral, legal, and economic order described in Gregg's Commercial Society, populism will become the norm, corruption will continue to flourish, and untold millions who yearn only to express their economic creativity will continue to live in sub-human conditions. A well-written, easy to comprehend text that does not shy away from explaining complex issues. (Ricardo Crespo, Universidad Austral, Argentina)

Gregg has contributed a major work to the growing literature in the field of the commerical society and its relationship to ethical and cultural foundations. (Ethics and Economics)

An excellent study of economic liberty, its essential prerequisites, and its greatest challenges today. Everyone can learn something from this, especially those Europeans whose countries are mired in bureaucracy, stagnation, and what Tocqueville called "soft despotism." (Mart Laar, Former Prime Minister of Estoria)

About the Author

Samuel Gregg is director of research at the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

More About the Author

Dr. Samuel Gregg is director of research at the Acton Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He has an MA in political philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy and political economy from the University of Oxford, where he worked under the supervision of Professor John Finnis.

He is the author of several books, including: Morality, Law, and Public Policy (2000); Economic Thinking for the Theologically Minded (2001); On Ordered Liberty (2003); his prize-winning The Commercial Society (2007); The Modern Papacy (2009); Wilhelm Röpke's Political Economy (2010); and Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and America's Future (2013) as well as monographs such as Ethics and Economics: The Quarrel and the Dialogue (1999); A Theory of Corruption (2004); and Banking, Justice, and the Common Good (2005). Several of these works have been translated into a variety of languages. He has also co-edited books such as Christian Theology and Market Economics (2008); Profit, Prudence and Virtue: Essays in Ethics, Business and Management (2009); and Natural Law, Economics and the Common Good (2012). His forthcoming book is titled, Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy, and Human Flourishing. He has also written on the thought of St. Thomas More.

He publishes in journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy; Journal of Markets & Morality; Economic Affairs; Law and Investment Management; Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines; Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy; Evidence; Ave Maria Law Review; Oxford Analytica; Communio; Journal of Scottish Philosophy; University Bookman, Moreana, and Policy. He is a regular writer of opinion-pieces which appear in publications such as the Wall Street Journal Europe; Foreign Affairs; National Review; Public Discourse; American Spectator; Australian Financial Review; and Business Review Weekly. His op-eds are also widely published in newspapers throughout Europe and Latin America. He has served as an editorial consultant for the Italian journal, La Societa, as well as American correspondent for the German newspaper Die Tagespost.

In 2001, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Member of the Mont Pèlerin Society in 2004. In 2008, he was elected a member of the Philadelphia Society, and a member of the Royal Economic Society. He is the General Editor of Lexington Books' Studies in Ethics and Economics Series. He also sits on the Academic Advisory Boards of Campion College, Sydney; the La Fundación Burke, Madrid; and the Institute of Economic Affairs, London; as well as the editorial boards of the Journal of Markets and Morality and Revista Valores en la sociedad industrial.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By James Stewart on November 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Drawing upon ancient and modern sources, "The Commercial Society" is one of those books that remind us that commercial order is about much more than the market economy. Using clear language free of jargon, this prize-winning book (Templeton Enterprise Award 2007) identifies the central moral, legal, and economic foundations of market orders and illustrates why they are indispensable to any society that aspires to the title of free and civilized.

Many have been waiting for such a book for a long time. Not since reading Wilhelm Ropke have I come across a book that articulates such a strong and morally-convincing case for free societies shaped decisively by the dominance of free enterprise and markets, but in a way that escapes the mathematical justifications offered by most contemporary economists.

It is difficult to classify this book as "conservative" or "classical liberal", not least because the author utilizes sources from both traditions, such as Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Friedrich von Hayek, and Alexis de Tocqueville. It is, in short, a book grounded firmly in various strands of the Western tradition, especially that synthesized in the Scottish Enlightenment, but prefigured by a number of late-medieval and early-modern thinkers, such as Thomas Aquinas. It is refreshing to read a text that is so unambiguously committed to authentic human liberty, but which cannot be boxed so easily in any one intellectual paradigm.

Those inclined to planned economies or socialism will find this book very challenging to their core beliefs. "The Commercial Society", however, does not seek to persuade by hectoring. Nor does it suggest that commercial order contains all the answers to humanity's questions and problems.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JUDE CHUA SOO MENG on November 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Gregg has written an excellent book. This book, in it essence, is a very lucid scholarly, accurate historical-conceptual study of the causal correlations between the commercial society and what Gregg calls its "foundations", meaning the conditions that favor the commercial society. These include moral foundations (e.g., creativity, practical wisdom, trust, civility), economic foundations and legal-political foundations. But to read this book merely as a descriptive study is to miss the more important prescriptive thesis, which is that we ought to encourage and promote the commercial society. Beware, again of missing the important prescriptive thesis if one reads in Gregg merely the suggestion that an appropriate culture supporting these foundations( which intellectuals have a role to shape) needs to be defended and encouraged *in order to* have a commercial society. Rather the equally interesting, if not more interesting proposal, is that one might promote the commercial society *in order to* promote those desirable moral, economic and legal political foundations, which have themselves independent value, and which constitute a culture of civility. So what turned out originally to be means for the sake of the end (i.e., the commercial society) are now proposed as the ends worth seeking via the establishment of the commercial society. Gregg does not harbour pie-in-the-sky illusions: there remains many fine-tuning to be done, and he is alert to these, as seen in his careful qualifications. But this strategy for promoting the culture of civility, if I may, by way of the commercial society needs to be explored, since the causal correlative connections are much in evidence.Read more ›
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By Tom C. Veblen on December 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simply superb.
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