15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A powerful case for commercial humanism,
This review is from: The Commercial Society: Foundations and Challenges in a Global Age (Studies in Ethics and Economics) (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. Rather, it expresses its arguments through logic, by carefully marshaling the facts, and judiciously surveying history. The book closes with a sophisticated discussion of the possibility of building commercial orders as opposed to simply letting them evolve. It is one of the most intriguing discussions I have read of a problem that has puzzled thinkers such as Smith, Montesquieu and Tocqueville - this alone makes the book worth reading.
The Commercial Society: Foundations and Challenges in a Global Age (Studies in Ethics and Economics)(2 customer reviews)